Johannesburg – When a team from the Benoni SPCA raided the home of a well-known international show dog judge and breeder, they made “horrific” findings.
After being alerted to allegations of severe animal cruelty, SPCA inspectors were initially told by the owner there were only 15 dogs on the property, and “roughly that number of healthy-looking French poodles could be seen in the garden”.
Upon entry on January 31, it was found that a 30 more dogs were hidden inside the house, many of them needing immediate medical attention.
“French poodles, cocker spaniels, Maltese poodles and cockapoos were among the breeds found on the property.
“Many appeared at first glance to be well-groomed, but beneath the surface serious health problems were found,” according to the Benoni SPCA.
Forty-five dogs had dental disease, hip dysplasia, eye conditions, musculoskeletal problems, skin conditions, spinal injuries, mammary tumours, ear infections, degenerative joint disease, cataracts, ulcerated tumours, infected wounds, skin pyoderma, and entropion. “Dogs were found locked in small crates inside the house and in the domestic worker’s room.
“The team confiscated 45 dogs.”
It was later established that the owner’s sister, another dog show judge, also lives on the property and the two share ownership of the animals.
The sisters now face criminal charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act.
“This case is heartbreaking – here are two women who know enough about dogs to be able to judge them in international shows, and yet their own animals are left to suffer in such a horrific way,” said senior inspector and manager of the Benoni SPCA Victoria Finnemore.
The animals are being treated at the Benoni SPCA, which has spent thousands of rand on the effort.
“We have received a generous contribution of donations from the public which will help cover these costs,” she said.