SPCA uncovered cruelty at PurrPaws

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JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SPCA VEREENIGING & VANDERBIJLPARK AND THE ANIMAL ANTI-CRUELTY LEAGUE JOHANNESBURG: ANIMAL CRUELTY AT PURRPAWS FOR LIFE

Severe animal cruelty has been uncovered at the Purrpaws for Life “no kill” animal shelter in Viljoensdrift, Free State by the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark and the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) Johannesburg.

Inspectors of the two animal welfare organisations were called upon by concerned members of the public and other animal shelters when severe animal cruelty was discovered at the Purrpaws for Life “no kill” animal shelter. The discovery followed when a fire broke out and burnt down the house of the founder and director of the shelter.

Imagine, 800 dogs and 300 cats housed in filthy, overcrowded enclosures. Left to their own fate. Sick, injured animals living in filth. Diseased animals spending their days in agony. Cats and dogs affected by everything from leukaemia to diarrhoea. Emaciated animals fighting for food, and some with puncture wounds all over. Infested with fleas and unsterilized. Breeding without check. Minimal care being given by the so-called custodians and caregivers. This is what the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark and AACL Johannesburg uncovered.

It is realistically impossible for any shelter to adequately care for over 1100 animals. Each and every animal should be inspected individually at least once a day to ensure they are sound and healthy, which is unlikely in a shelter housing such a large volume of animals. A full-time resident veterinarian is also needed to examine and treat the sick and injured animals on a daily basis, which is not being done.

During the investigations several animal welfare concerns were uncovered, these concerns are not limited to:

• Animals being kept in substandard and overcrowding conditions
• Dogs and cats left to suffer without being provided with veterinary treatment 
• Dogs and cats infested with fleas and other external parasites 
• Unsterilised animals being housed together, resulting in breeding and fighting

A warning was issued by the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark to the Purrpaws for Life “no kill” animal shelter to seek veterinary treatment for any sick or injured dogs and that the cats be examined and treated by a veterinarian. Purrpaws for Life “no kill” animal shelter ignored the SPCA’s warning and left the animals to suffer unnecessarily without any veterinary treatment.

A warrant was obtained on Monday, 04 February 2019, and Inspectors of the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark and the AACL Johannesburg returned to the property of Purrpaws for Life “no kill” animal shelter to conduct a follow-up inspection.

In total, 114 cats and 7 dogs were removed by the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark. Majority of these animals were in a poor state of health and in desperate need of veterinary intervention. A further 93 cats, that were also in a poor state of health and in desperate need of veterinary intervention, were removed from the shelter by another rescue group prior to the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark and AACL Johannesburg doing a follow-up inspection. These cats were handed over to the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark.

Some of the veterinary conditions found by independent veterinarians:

• Cats and dogs that are severely underweight or emaciated 
• Cats and dogs suffering from severe skin conditions
• Cats and dogs with puncture wounds from fighting and other wounds
• Cats and kittens suffering from severe upper respiratory infection (also known as snuffles), with mild to severe eye and nasal discharges – some being so bad that the cats struggling to breath 
• Cats suffering from Feline Aids and Leukaemia
• Cats suffering from Giardia and Coccidia
• Cats with severe ear mites 
• Cats with severe ear infections 
• Cats with ulcers in their mouths
• Cats with mild to severe diarrhoea

As is apparent, the animals have been suffering unnecessarily as most of these diseases are easily treated. The contagious diseases have been allowed a free reign due to utter lack of management and deliberate disregard to the welfare of animals entrusted to the shelter.

Many of the animals have been handed over to other shelters and animal welfare groups by Purrpaws for Life “no kill” animal shelter. These groups have also shared horror stories in the form of veterinary reports and graphic images of the animals in pitiful condition. We ask that all the groups who took in any animals from this shelter to come forward with any abuse they find by contacting the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark or AACL Johannesburg.

The Purrpaws for Life “no kill” shelter now has approximately 50 dogs and 60 cats to care for. A further warning has been issued by the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark to ensure that the remaining cats are examined individually and treated by a veterinarian for various diseases, especially Feline Aids and Leukaemia. The SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark will be conducting a follow-up inspection to ensure compliance.

The SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark and the AACL Johannesburg are in the process of compiling a criminal docket on charges of animal cruelty in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 against the directors of Purrpaws for Life “no kill” animal shelter. The two organisations are committed to ensure justice for these animals who have been subjected to immense cruelty for no fault of theirs by the very people who should have been their protector and caregiver. They are going to be the voice of these animals as shared by Marlien De Klerk, Manager of the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark, in the statement below.

“An animal shelter is supposed to be a safe haven for animals, not a place where animals are being kept in concentration camps and left to suffer without any veterinary or medical treatment. We are the custodians for animals and must ensure that they are treated humanely and with dignity. We will not tolerate animal abuse.”

See previous statement released by the SPCA Vereeniging & Vanderbijlpark by clicking on the following link:- https://www.facebook.com/139630522746375/posts/2569325223110214/

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