On the 16th of February 2023, the NSPCA won a case of animal cruelty against one of the beneficiaries of a government-funded farm in the Free State Province. The case involved the severe neglect and abuse of pigs that were kept on the farm.

In 2016, NSPCA Inspector Mpho Mokoena received a complaint that pigs had been abandoned and left to starve on a farm in Brandfort. When she began her investigation, she found the farm abandoned and completely littered with the carcasses of pigs that appeared to have died from starvation. In addition to this, the 16 pigs that were found still alive were all emaciated and had begun cannibalizing to try and survive. After obtaining a warrant, the NSPCA returned with the police, and the remaining pigs had to be humanely euthanized.

Shortly after, five beneficiaries of the farm had arrived at the police station to report that their pigs had been euthanised and Inspector Mokoena was able to lay charges of animal cruelty against all five of them.

As the case progressed, the defence attempted to have the case struck off the roll, however, due to Inspector Mokoena’s tireless efforts and dedication, the case was kept on the roll and continued to be prosecuted.

Eventually, the State was forced to drop the charges against four of the five beneficiaries for various reasons. The remaining beneficiary was found guilty of animal cruelty and sentenced to 30months imprisonment, suspended for four years.

This is a significant victory, particularly for farm animals because they are so often overlooked and subjected to suffering that only a minority care enough to speak up about.

Through the NSPCAs persistence and dedication to justice, this case was heard and ultimately it resulted in a guilty verdict which sends a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

Winning a case in court is not as simple as the summary in a media statement. It involves us Inspectors having to travel to whichever part of the country where an animal is suffering and in need. It requires multiple trips to police stations and multiple trips to and from court whenever the case is being heard. It requires strength, to be able to stand before a court and fight for justice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Most importantly, it requires the support of the public- without their funding, we as Inspectors cannot do the hard work required to protect animals.” – National Inspector Mpho Mokoena

The NSPCA remains committed to the protection of all animals and hopes to continue being able to bring those responsible for animal cruelty to justice.

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