Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Situated at a business on Gutenberg Street, Riverside Industrial, two dogs lead a bitter existence.
These caged animals’ plight recently came to light following a person taking to social media, explaining how the dogs were being locked in their kennels, with practically no room to move, no food, nor water. Subsequent to this post and the justification for this article, many opinions were put forward, each with varying and conflicting answers. This, coupled with the strangely mixed responses from the various parties, placed our editor onto a story with many tales—but you determine the truth and let us know in the comment section below.
Speaking with the SPCA, Newcastle Animal Rescue KZN, Ron Turkington of DogFather Vryheid (the individual who took to social media), a representative of the Chinese community, coupled with a site visit to the premises, we investigate the truth.
Upon arrival, our editor found the dogs were indeed being held in a locked kennel. According to the manager, the dogs were locked up from approximately 7.30 am until closing time at just after 5 pm.
When probing the manager for answers on the dogs’ living conditions, who refused to give his name, he assured the dogs had finished their food and water. However, he declined to comment on when they would be given more. When asked about how often the dogs were allowed out to go to the toilet, he did not answer, but it was later stated that they were allowed out twice a day to do their business.
Furthermore, a staff member claimed the smaller of the two dogs was allowed to run around until the business got busier, yet could not elaborate on when the larger dog was let out. However, she and the manager maintained the dogs were allowed to roam free in the evening once the business was closed.
SPCA’s Heather Gero and Mthunzi Mbatha, the organisation’s training inspector, explain the matter was reported to them, and it was investigated. Mbatha elaborates, “I went to the premises on 1 April 2021, while the smaller dog was held in a kennel, the larger dog was not. I spoke to the owner, and the small dog was let out.”
He adds that he followed up and revisited the premises during the past week—noting the dogs running around freely on the business’s premises.
Controversially, Joyce Addicott of Newcastle Animal Rescue KZN affirmed that the dogs were not free during her visits. “This has been a problem for over a month, and something needs to be done.”
While Addicott feels the SPCA needs to take the relevant steps, Gero emphasises it is essential for the community to understand that the SPCA cannot simply remove animals from an individual’s property, unless they have acquired a warrant, the owner has given their permission, or the animal’s life is in jeopardy. “We do not know when the owner put the dogs in the cage or how long they were there. If we attend the scene and the animal is not in the cage at the time of investigation, there is not much we can do. We need hard evidence.”
Moreover, she emphasises they cannot prove the owner wrong if they claim the dog was only in the enclosure for a few minutes. Therefore, Gero states it is pivotal that when a person sees incidents such as this, they should contact the SPCA immediately and wait there. “We are a professional organisation, and we need to abide by the law.”
However, Ron Turkington of DogFather Vryheid explains that this issue has been ongoing since June 2020. He acknowledges the SPCA removing two of the dogs but states that two others were left behind, and concerningly, they are not the same two dogs currently encaged. “DogFather combats animal abuse and dogfighting, and while we are not putting the SPCA down, as they have a lot on their plate, we would like to know what happened to the two brown dogs who were at the business?”
Moreover, he feels the Newcastle SPCA needs to communicate more with the public, letting them know about what is going on in the community, especially as he feels these two dogs should not be forced to live out their lives in a cage. Nor should any other animal be forced to endure a life of hardship.
Cooper Yao, a business owner, acquainted with the business owner in question, explains that while keeping the dogs cooped up in kennels is not ideal, it is being done for a good reason. “Business owners who do have dogs in the area really care about their animals, and there have been incidents where dogs have been poisoned during the day. This is why the dogs were locked up in their kennels.”
However, upon questioning the business manager, the dogs were caged to ensure they did not harass the establishment’s clientele.
The Newcastillian – Online News has managed to get hold of the owner of the premises, who assures the problem will be resolved before the end of the week. However, Turkington believes the owner should not own dogs.
What are your thoughts on the matter? And remember to share your views in the comment section below.