It has been widely publicized that a tigress escaped her enclosure on private property in Daleside earlier this week.

Contrary to some reports, the tigress was NOT captured and then euthanized. The owner failed to capture her safely and ultimately she was shot and killed after entering a populated dwelling in the area. The NSPCA and the local SPCA (Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark) were not contacted and did not form part of the decision to shoot and kill the animal.

This is not the first case of a wild animal escaping captivity, nor is it the first time that the animal is made to pay the price for irresponsibility and lack of compassion.

Animals in captivity are subjected to extreme cruelty. Over and above the fact that freedom – the most basic right a sentient being has – is stolen from these animals, they may also be confined to cages, filthy living conditions, the inability to express their natural behavior, and they are often cruelly trained to perform degrading tricks for the entertainment of people who lack compassion. These animals are also found to be remorselessly bred and sold for profit to just about anyone who can afford to buy them, even if these owners have absolutely no compassion or knowledge of how to properly care for them. In addition to this, keeping wild animals in captivity undeniably places people at risk of an attack as well.

Due to basic legislation and no inspections by authorities, it has become far too easy for laypeople to own and breed dangerous and exotic wild animals. In Gauteng, permits are not required to keep exotic wildlife. The only permit currently required is an import permit.

It is evident that the basic legislation is written for the convenience of people who wish to exploit these animals. The welfare of the animal is certainly not taken into consideration, and the safety of the community is disregarded as well. If the welfare of the animals and the people were taken into account, these animals would not be kept in captivity, and the community would be protected from the dangers of an escaped wild animal.

A man has been severely mauled, families have lost their beloved pets, and the tigress, who behaved as any wild animal would, has lost her life.

The NSPCA is currently investigating the matter further, taking various angles into account, and is giving serious consideration to taking legal action against the owner of the tigress for the events that have unfolded.

The SPCA remains opposed to the keeping of wildlife in captivity.

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