Yesterday, the Honorable Magistrate Mr Maboho passed down a groundbreaking judgement on a case of animal cruelty opened by the NSPCA which involved reptiles. This judgement has gone on to become the biggest legal win for reptiles in South African history, and will have a lasting impact in future cases of cruelty involving reptiles.

In 2019, the NSPCA received a tipoff regarding an individual who was illegally housing snakes in a warehouse and participating in the illegal activity of feeding of live animals as prey. The NSPCA acted without hesitation and accessed the property under a warrant.

Our inspectors were beyond appalled when they discovered the condition the snakes and rabbits were being kept under.

A few of the major concerns that were noted included injuries that were left untreated, the animals were underweight, the snakes had burn wounds from incorrect lighting and the fact that live rabbits were being fed to the snakes. The feeding of live animals is illegal.

Three Southern African Pythons were removed from the property by the NSPCA, as well as all the rabbits. The Pythons were taken to the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital for treatment, and the rabbits were rehomed to loving families by the SPCA.

The NSPCA initiated the prosecution of those involved in the abuse of the animals and yesterday, after two years of the NSPCA following up on the case, finally justice was served!

The Honorable Magistrate Mr Maboho found all the accused guilty of the charges the NSPCA presented and sentenced them to the following-

R50 000 fine for each of the accused or 5 years imprisonment.

R80 000 awarded to JHB Wildlife Veterinary Hospital for their costs incurred in treating the pythons.

R5000 for the costs incurred by the NSPCA for travelling to and from court for the duration of this case.

The accused parties are denied from ever owning or being in charge of reptiles or rabbits again in the future.

The Honorable Magistrate expressed that he had hoped that the sentence wouldn’t only show the appropriate punishment (for the abuse of the animals) but also deter individuals from committing such crimes in the future. Further to this, the Honorable magistrate also alluded to the fact that a sentence such as this one may contribute in ensuring that these animals are protected enough to survive for future generations to see.

The NSPCA fights to protect ALL animals and we rely solely on the financial support of the public to continue our work.


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