In 2019, the NSPCA charged a lion farmer in the North West province with animal cruelty. During three separate inspections, NSPCA inspectors found animals suffering in various states. Two lion cubs, now fondly known as Karlos and Ivana by the public, were found in a severely compromised state at the time, and were subsequently removed by the NSPCA. The cubs were placed under the care of Dr. Peter Caldwell before they were relocated to Panthera Africa- an NSPCA-accredited wildlife sanctuary- where they have grown to become confident young lions.
After being charged by the NSPCA, Mr. Steinman sued the organization for defamation, claiming that he had lost income and been defamed due to the public’s awareness of his animal cruelty charges. In January 2023, the state dismissed his R13 million defamation case against the NSPCA with costs.
In April 2023, Mr. Steinman attempted to have the criminal case brought against him by the NSPCA withdrawn. He made an application in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, arguing that the NSPCA had insufficient evidence and the state had not shown that a prima facie case existed against his client. This was disputed by the prosecution in light of the evidence presented by three NSPCA inspectors who testified regarding the condition of the animals that they observed during inspections, a detailed veterinary report by a wildlife specialist veterinarian, and video/photo footage clearly depicting the severity of the animals’ suffering and the conditions in which they were kept on Mr. Steinman’s property.
On the 14th of April 2023, the honourable magistrate in the District Court of Lichtenburg declined Mr. Steinman’s Section 174 application to acquit him of the charges laid against him by the NSPCA for animal cruelty. The NSPCA welcomes this decision and commends the magistrate for recognizing the weight of evidence presented and the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions.
Additionally, the defense made an application before the magistrate for an attorney and client costs order in terms of Section 9 of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 against the NSPCA alleging that the charges laid against Mr. Steinman were vexatious. This application has been postponed until the end of the trial.
The case is set to be heard again in court on August 1-2, 2023, when the defence will testify and be cross-examined by the state.
The NSPCA remains committed to protecting all animals and will continue its fight to ensure that justice is served.