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Cape of Good Hope SPCA and CHPA distressed over release of convicted horse abusers

Bukshi with Anthea, in happier times.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA (CoGH SPCA) and Cart Horse Protection Association (CHPA) have expressed their shock and disappointment over the release of two men and a teenager from Pollsmoor Prison who served only six weeks of a six months suspended one year prison sentence for animal cruelty.

Desling Snyman (19), William Williams (20) and a un-named 15 year old teenager were found guilty of animal cruelty and theft by the Somerset West Magistrate court on 3 April 2012 after they stole a horse ‘Bukshi’ from a farm in Faure on 19 February 2010 and subjected the animal to three days of brutal mistreatment.  Bukshi’s injuries, which included a large open wound, a lowered belly due to lacerated muscle, legs and feet covered in blood and lacerations in his mouth, were so severe that a vet had to humanely euthanize the animal.

According to Bukshi’s owner Anthea Myburgh, the offenders where released on 14 May, just under six weeks after being sentenced.

“After more than two years of fighting for justice for Bukshi and after all the support this case has received from the CoGH SPCA, the CHPA and dozens of supporters who stood alongside me to speak out against animal cruelty, this is a mockery and I am disheartened by Correctional Service’s decision to release the offenders despite the magistrate’s ruling and despite a social worker’s research, which suggested that home life was not suitable for rehabilitating these young men”, said Anthea.

Myburgh added: “Since the offenders have been released, we have noticed unusual activity on the farm and hence were forced to further increase security.

According to Warrant Officer Du Toit who was instrumental in the case’s success, unfortunately according to South African law, any offenders sentenced to jail time before 27 April 2012 received six months amnesty. These offenders were sentenced to one year imprisonment, of which six months were suspended for three years and were therefore exempted from the remaining six months.

Said CoGH SPCA CEO Allan Perrins: “The SPCA believes any punitive action needs to be accompanied by a corrective measure or the perpetrators will just reoffend.  If we are assured that their time in jail included a remedial, educational and corrective element, with assurance of some form of mentoring after their release, we would respect the validity of their release under the Presidential amnesty scheme.”

Megan White, Manager Cart Horse Protection Association commented: "This is a sad outcome that weakens our battle against the scourge of animal abuse.  Allowing these youths to walk free is not only a slap in the face for all animal welfare organisations that work tirelessly with limited resources, but to all who support them in their fight to protect and care for those who cannot speak for themselves”. 



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