Suffering animals to be released

The Oshana SPCA has been trying since 17 December to stop the animal cruelty at the impound pens of the Ondangwa town council.

30 January 2018 | Justice

Impounded animals at Ondangwa that were kept in deplorable conditions for days without food and clean water were to be released by late yesterday afternoon.

This follows a court order issued on Friday that the animals must immediately be released after the Oshana SPCA had approached the Oshakati High Court with an urgent application.

However by yesterday morning the Ondangwa town council had not yet released the animals.

The court on Friday ordered the immediate release of the impounded animals and that no other animals may be impounded until policy regulations are drafted and implemented by the council to ensure compliance with the Animal Protection Act and the Model Pound Regulations.

These regulations must also be approved by the Oshana SPCA.

The council must show cause before 14 February why the ruling must not be made permanent.

Following emergency meetings yesterday, the impounded animals were to be released late yesterday afternoon.

According to the affidavit of Wilmarie Horn, who manages the Oshana SPCA and is a lawyer by training, the organisation received a complaint on 17 December about animal cruelty at the impound pens of the Ondangwa town council.

After speaking to state veterinarians it became clear that conditions at the impound pens had been a concern for many years and had been raised at meetings with the council before.

Horn and Charmaine Maritz, the chairperson of the Oshana SPCA, visited the impound pen on 5 January.

“I observed the impound pen to be in a horrible state and it smelled rotten. The fences were broken at some parts, it was filthy, no shade or any shelter for the animals against rain or the sun,” says Horn.

According to her one bull, seven donkeys of which one was pregnant, one calf, seven goats, ten pigs, one piglet and three dead goats were found in the impound pens.

She says although the animals had water, it was dirty. “They did not have any food and were very hungry. They were starving and to that end the gates were locked to the pens with padlocks.”

According to Horn one goat and one pig needed urgent medical attention.

Horn, says according to security guards at the impound pen the animals are only fed once every seven days and if the owners do not claim their animals they die of hunger and are thrown into a nearby pit where their carcasses are burnt.

No auctions are held to sell the animals.

Horn, on behalf of the Oshana SPCA, immediately arranged for food for the animals with Ondangwa Farmers Market that same day. On 8 January more food was arranged to ensure that the animals were fed.

Horn says after meetings were held with the council a case of animal cruelty was opened with the police. Although the Oshana SPCA arranged for fodder donations from different entities, these were not even collected by the council, Horn says.

On 26 January another inspection of the impound pens was done.

“The animals did not have any food in the pens, except for the goats who had old grass supplied by the council after 5 January that was lying in a filthy heap, full of rubbish and not fit for animal consumption outside the impound pens,” says Horn.

She adds that the little water available was insufficient, dirty and not fit for consumption.

Horn informed the council's health department and the police about the conditions, but was told that by law the police's hands were tied and they could only assist once a court order was obtained. An urgent court application was then filed.

However, following the court order on Friday Horn visited the impound pens on Sunday and the animals were still not released.

She told Namibian Sun that the animals had received little food and water.

According to Horn several calls were made to the police, including the Oshana regional commander, Commissioner Rauha Amwele, who informed her that the animals could not be released because they would destroy mahangu fields.

According to Horn, the council on Sunday informed her that the animals could be released, but would then have to be in the care of the SPCA. The organisation did not agree with that, as it was not in accordance with the court order.

Yesterday morning meetings were held between those involved and it was agreed that the owners could claim their impounded animals, which would be released by 16:00 yesterday afternoon.

ELLANIE SMIT

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