The South African Police Service together with the SPCA have raided a house in Durban that was home to 80 dogs.
Rescuers found the yard in a disheveled state with raw meat scattered among the carcasses of dogs that had died on the property and a phenomenal amount of excrement.
The woman who owns the property has asked to remain anonymous but maintains that she was caring for the animals and knew the names of every dog on the property.
General manager of the Durban and Coast SPCA , Caroline Smith said that the organization had received a complaint about the property on
Chiltern Drive, bordering Palmiet Nature Reserve. The SAPS then requested a warrant to search the property and found a tragic case of animal hoarding.
“The inspectors and support team were unprepared for what faced them when they arrived at a Clare Estate house to execute a warrant of seizure.
“The warrant was obtained by senior inspector Candice Sadayan because of concerns regarding the welfare of animals on the property, following a report from a member of the public.
“What they found was a house of horrors. They were at first hit by an overwhelmingly putrid stench caused by rotting dog corpses, debris, filth and dog faeces from corner to corner. They found more than 80 dogs living in a foul and disease-ridden environment, some barely clinging to life and others riddled with parasites, disease and injuries,” said Smith.
Reporters from the Independent on Saturday accompanied the the police and detailed the squalid conditions in their front page story on Saturday 20 April.
Neighbours said that they felt sorry for the women but had repeatedly reported her to the SPCA and police over the masses of dogs kept on the property.
“It’s very sad, she keeps to herself but the dogs are not in a good state. People always come to drop off meat at her house, she said she had between 50 to 60 dogs, but we know there are more,” an anonymous neighbour said.
The live dogs rescued tallied 80 while 20 carcasses were found scattered about the property including inside the house.
“Investigations revealed that the owner allegedly takes in unwanted and stray animals from the community. I would like to send out a very clear message to members of the public who are simply handing over animals to people to care for and ‘rescue’. There is a fate much worse than humane euthanasia. This case illustrates it in no uncertain terms.
“Dogs were left to die slow, painful deaths without veterinary treatment. The SPCA has the experience, expertise and skill to take care of animals. I implore people to hand over unwanted and stray animals to their local SPCA so that they can be dealt with in the best interest of the animal, and to prevent prolonged suffering,” said Smith, adding that they would open a charge to prosecute the woman under the Animals Protection Act.
“Some of the conditions the dogs were found to have include emaciation and dehydration, coccidiosis (from eating faeces and exposure to faeces), ehrlichiosis (tick bite fever), hookworm and roundworm infestations, blindness, infected bite wounds from fighting among themselves, severe tick and flea infestations, interbreeding and open, foetid wounds on jutting-out bones,” said Smith.
The distraught owner of the property ranted against the SPCA and the police saying: “I know every one of my dogs. Each one has a name. They are treated by a vet, and I take care of them, so there is no case of cruelty.
“The SPCA comes in here and throws things around to make it look messy. They make money from sensationalism. The irony is that this place, after my passing, is meant to go to the animals, for a snake park or an animal hospital, but this is how they treat me.
“I suffered indignation and disrespect when they used force to access my property, and I will charge them. There is a bigger reason as to why I am being targeted. It has to do with land invasion. Some of my dogs were old, so yes some of them may not be in good health, but they are old and some are blind. I just want my babies back “