Love it or lose it

Lovemore Meya Lifestyle Correspondent
Dogs are supposed to be a person’s best friends. They play with us and also provide security. Cats are also good companions to have around. They can be quite affectionate and will keep the rats and mice away. All they need in return is shelter, food and the occasional pat on the head or a rub.

If you do not like them then you have no business keeping them. This message seems to have escaped a large number of people . A Harare man is currently facing prosecution after he allegedly shot his ex-lover’s dog in a jealousy fit. Such behaviour puts us in line for the label of an animal hating society. That is certainly something that we do not need especially after the world attention that we got over Cecil the lion’s death.

Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA) has expressed concern over an upsurge in the abuse of animals and is attending to at least six cases per day in Harare alone.

ZNSPCA chief inspector Ms Glynis Vaughan said on Wednesday that cases of people ill-treating animals were on the increase in all parts of the country.

“Currently, the charges of people facing animal cruelty in the courts involve ill-treatment, failing to provide food and veterinary care, beating, terrifying and abandonment,” she said.

“We receive at least six reports per day from people and we go on the ground for investigations. We would like to urge the public to report all cases of cruelty to animals immediately in order for inspectors to attend to the animals.”

There are strict legal guidelines on just what is expected from pet owners. Taking the pets to the vet for inoculations and treatment is mandatory. The animals also need standard habitation and food. Beating of animals is frowned on.

Ms Vaughan said ZNSPCA was eager to impart knowledge to the society on issues concerning animal abuse.

“We are willing to visit schools and other educational facilities to teach students on all aspects of animal cruelty, so the public must call upon us to do so,” she said.

Ms Vaughan says it is our duty to ensure the safety of all animals that we come across including our own and those of our neighbours. So if your neighbour has got a million dogs that are flea-infested and always scrounging for food in the hood, you know who to call.

“In order to curb the volume of animal cruelty, ZNSPCA recommend that the public call upon our inspectors for assistance. By asking for our assistance, the public will not be prosecuted; we will merely rectify the situation and ensure that the circumstances are not repeated.”

Ms Vaughan said some cases of cruelty to animals before the courts include that of Zheggad Gie of 16 Waveli Road, Highlands in Harare who is being charged for failure to provide correct supervision over his child who beats up dogs on his property.

“Mohamaied Sauttee of Haka Game Park was arrested for ill-treating three horses,” she said. “The horses were deprived of proper medical treatment and food. Sebastian DiAquino, a race horse trainer at Borrowdale Race Course, was arrested for ill-treating his horses.

“He pleaded guilty to neglecting his horses at a hearing by the National Horse Racing Authority of Southern Africa. His criminal case is on January 25.

Another crime being committed in the open is that of pet vending. We have all seen those guys standing on the road with cute puppies. When you ask these vendors they always claim that the puppies are of perfect pedigree. Repeat offenders are common:

“Rickson Madanhure has once again appeared in court for puppy vending and has been in the courts on three previous occasions for the same offence.”

Ms Vaughan said Madanhure was at one time ordered to complete 210 hours of community service for the puppy offence.

ZNSPCA is the umbrella body for all Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals branches in Zimbabwe and ensures all its members adhere to the national rules and policies, work with relevant stakeholders in the detection and prevention of animal cruelty and educate the public on all aspects of animal welfare.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Chapter 19:09) covers all animals – domestic pets, farm animals and wild animals in captivity (including birds and reptiles).

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