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SPCA dismisses four after investigation

Four Tshwane SPCA officials have been suspended after they were found guilty of not following the correct policy when 29 animals were put down recently.

13 September 2012 | Natalie Grobler and Suzette van Huyssteen

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A two-month investigation into, among others, why a healthy rare husky was put down, finally led to the permanent dismissal of four Tshwane SPCA staff members.

The outcome follows an intensive independent investigation as to why 29 animals were put down on the same day at the Centurion SPCA. The investigation concluded that the four staff members did not follow the correct policy when the animals were put down.

According to Rick Allan, managing director of the Tshwane SPCA, 26 of the animals who were kept in the stray kennels had to be put down for various reasons, but three dogs that were up for adoption, were also put down, which had raised their suspicion.

The investigation revealed that the manager and three inspectors had not followed the correct SPCA policy when they put the animals down. This included that the manager had to be on site during the operation.

Allan said numerous people testified in aid of the investigation. Among them was Celia van Zyl, a well-known animal lover and husky rescuer.

Van Zyl initiated the investigation after a husky had been put down at the Centurion branch. She had allegedly lined up five possible adopters for the husky, but before she could complete the adoption process, the animal was killed.

“If a system is not functioning as it should, replacing two people will not change anything. I cannot understand why some SPCA branches, like Sandton and Midrand, function brilliantly, with the trust and co-operation of the community, while others keep on having problems,” a frustrated Van Zyl commented.

She hoped the tragic incident would make the public aware of their responsibility towards their pets, as well as urging the SPCA to become more transparent.

“The SPCA is most certainly not a convenient shelter where unwanted animals can simply be dumped by uncaring individuals, under the illusion that they will be re-homed. If I could wish for change, it would be to see a change towards utilising all the options out there to get the animals good, responsible homes before euthanasia is considered.”

Allan said that they had hired a senior inspector to not only help change their administrative procedures, but also to develop various procedures that would prevent the same type of incident happening again.

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