‘Be responsible pet owners,’ animal watchdog urges


07-October-2011

But what happens once our pets begin to grow old? Perhaps has a case of heartworm or leptospirosis? Or even starts to become a little difficult to deal with?

I was shocked to discover that the majority of these animals, instead of given extra attention and medical care when needed, were being beaten, starved and even left to wander the streets lonely, scared and without their owners.

In an interview with Kevin Humphrey of the Seychelles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), a number of concerns were voiced on the subject.

“The most common cases here involve puppies confined to very small cages, often being left for days in their own urine and faeces,” said Kevin. “It is quite worrying.”

Some animals – mostly dogs – are shackled by heavy-duty chains which rub against their fur, in turn causing it to shed only leaving chain marks across their necks. There are some who are not so fortunate.

“I have seen instances where the chain is so tight around the poor animal’s neck that it actually cuts through skin,” said Kevin.

“Sometimes these become infected…it’s deplorable,” he said, shaking his head.

In some cases the people responsible for such unacceptable behaviour are confronted and fined. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

“In cases where hot water has been flung all over the animal, our only evidence is a dog or cat with burn marks,” said Kevin. “No proof of the perpetrator – no case.”

Even if the guilty party is intercepted, the extent of the law stretches to a simple fine of R100.
“We are hoping this will change soon,” said Kevin. 

He remembers one particular case which bothered him quite a bit.

“There had been reports about a dog being locked in a house on the west side of the island. When we went to investigate, we found out he had been there with no food for three months.

 A neighbour was feeding him a few scraps every other week or so but not enough to sustain the poor animal. He was as thin as a rail,” he remembered.

The SSPCA workers returned to the scene a few times to try and convince the owner to either release the dog in their care or start treating the animal in a more ethical way.
“The man pulled a machete on us,” said Kevin.
 
However, after several confrontations and frustrating tries, the team was able to rescue the dog and he was later named Bob by his rescuers.

Sadly, Bob died not long after due to internal injuries sustained from the abuse.
Bob’s case is only one in hundreds here in Seychelles and should spur animal lovers and concerned people in general into educating and talking to their peers, friends and family members about the worrying trend in animal abuse in the country. 

“We need more awareness,” said Kevin. “Speaking to children about becoming responsible pet owners will definitely go a long way in promoting this awareness”.

The SSPCA and the Ministry of Education have even collaborating in bringing forward the Humane Education Programme to all primary schools in Seychelles. The programme, which is interactive, teaches children respect, compassion and kindness towards all animals, responsible pet ownership, as well as learn about the five freedoms that each and every animal should have: freedom from hunger or thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from fear and distress.

The message that Kevin wants to send out to the public of Seychelles is:
“If you want a pet, please make sure that you are ready mentally, and emotionally to cater for the animal. Do not use them as punching bags or as a means to rid yourself of pent up anger or frustrations of the day.”

For anybody wishing to know more about the services provided by the SSPCA, who wish to report a case of animal abuse or who are simply concerned and want to help, call 710088.

Rebecca Chang-Tave

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