In January 2017, the NSPCA’s Special Investigations Unit, assisted by the Roodepoort SPCA, inspected a farm in Protea Glen owned by Pieter Steyn, where they found 32 dogs in dire conditions.

A wide variety of breeds including many pit bull terriers were being kept in cages and hidden in locked rooms filled with dog feces, rotting meat and old bones. The water containers were covered with green scum and tested positive for dangerous bacteria that can also infect humans. The dogs were fed raw, rotting chicken carcasses and many of the animals were sick and injured.

Among the 32 dogs was a puppy with a broken spine that had been left to drag himself around the property, as well as a young pit bull in a cage whose nose had been entirely bitten off. A number of small breed dogs had rotting teeth that were falling out. The 32 dogs were removed from the property and a case was opened in the Protea Magistrates court.

“The thought of the thick carpets of dog feces on the ground and the foul stench of the scene still makes me cringe even though it is years later” Senior Inspector Nadia Hansa described.

Almost 3 years later, Mr Pieter Steyn pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay R40 000 to the NSPCA, as well as 8 months’ imprisonment suspended for 5 years on the condition that he does not contravene the Animals Protection Act again. Mr Steyn was also denied ownership of any dogs for the next five years.

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