10 January 2008, 14:18
By Lavern de Vries
A George resident has filed a charge of theft and trespassing against the SPCA after its officials confiscated his pitbull in the belief that the man had abandoned his dog.
In an affidavit filed with the George police, David Moore said that he was an American citizen who owned a farm in George.
While he was at his US home during December, his SA house had been burgled.
A day later, on December 10, Moore asked his neighbours to transport his dog, which he had imported from the US, to his George home as a deterrent to criminals, the affidavit reads.
The following day Moore was informed by the same neighbours that the SPCA had removed the dog after another neighbour had phoned to alert them that the dog had been abandoned and left without water and food a claim Moore rejects.
"The dog was left under the covered porch near cushions with a long-run chain. A water bowl was nearby," Moore said in his affidavit.
"The dog was under daily supervision. My neighbours were visiting the property every day.
"How can I be accused of neglecting my dog when I had paid a considerable amount of money to have a microchip installed, along with several vaccinations, so that he could come to South Africa?" Moore asked.
Moore alleges that his dog has been put up for adoption by the SPCA with the possibility of castration - a move that has forced him to start litigation.
"How can they just barge onto someone's property without knowing the full story, without a warrant or an order from a magistrate, when police officers, who have serious crimes to investigate, need permission from the court?" he asked.
Asked for comment on the case, Winnie Swanepoel, spokesperson for the SPCA in George, said she was reluctant to discuss the matter as it was sub judice.
"We do have the dog but he is not up for adoption. We acted in the interest of the animal," Swanepoel said.
Good Hope SPCA chief executive officer Allan Perrins explained that the organisation was requested to obtain a warrant to enter someone's property but in certain cases, it was exempt from this requirement.
"Under addendum 468 of the Animal Protection Act we are empowered to enter property without a warrant to seize an animal which is considered to be diseased or sick.
"If we have sufficient belief that that animal has been abandoned and is on the brink of death, we do not need a warrant," said Perrins.
But Moore said the dog, named Havoc, was not near death and he wanted a magistrate to rule on whether the SPCA was right in its decision to enter his property without his permission.
George police spokesperson Malcom Pojie has confirmed that a case of theft had been laid against the SPCA by Moore.
"No one has been arrested yet and after the investigation is completed, the senior State prosecutor will decide whether to prosecute," Pojie said.