Animal cruelty charges laid in cattle abuse case

HARARE - Animal welfare workers are evaluating the health of 38 cattle that are being taken this week from what were described as “filthy” conditions and neglect at a rural Nyazura farm, some 60km north of Mutare.

The owner of the cattle, who is currently out of the country, is facing charges of animal cruelty, according to Mutare Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) chairperson Lynne James.

Workers with the SPCA are recovering the 38 cattle facing death as a result of forced starvation from the shelter, owned by a recently resettled farmer.

It is one of the 150-year-old organisation’s largest ever Zimbabwe case operation for suspected cruelty to companion animals, although larger rescues have been conducted.

“Right at the moment, our immediate concern is to move the 38 head of cattle — one being a brand new calf — to a safe haven for their best recovery, and we plan to do that this week.

“As the owner of the cattle is currently out of the country, it has not been easy to make contact despite some efforts, but he was notified immediately on his local WhatsApp number and did reply, so he is aware. His Harare-based brother seems to be handling the issue on the ground for him and is fully aware of the situation,” James said.

She said the animals were in “really filthy” conditions, and some had open wounds, were emaciated and had upper respiratory disease.

The animals were left penned and unable to access food or water to the point of starvation by the farm staff as punishment for the owner’s failure to pay the farm workers.

Since the animals are considered evidence in a criminal case, the non-profit plans to shelter them until a court determines their custody.

James told the Daily News that a docket had been opened with the police in Nyazura. Court proceedings were expected to commence soon.

“On the legal side, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Chapter 19.09) is a very strong Act and covers the issues pertaining to cruelty cases such as these,” James said, adding she could not immediately reveal the name of the farm and who the owner was.

The SPCA is appealing for urgent help in getting treatment for the cattle, hay, and transporting them to a safe haven, which they estimate will cost about $1 300.

“The final fate of these cattle rests with the courts, but I would think that in such an extreme and preventable case of cruelty, the full force of the law will be exercised,” James said.

The society said three of the cattle were about to undergo mercy killings in order to prevent further suffering.

“...three animals are about to be euthanised, one of which fell into a pit and has been stuck in it for days. No one has been tending to these animals as we are told that their (farm workers) wages have not been paid.

“The early November heat wave must have been horrific for them — and then the rains came but still they could not drink what fell within their prison. One animal can clearly be seen to be tangled in the barbed wire fence, no doubt doing her best to get out of her hell hole.”

Comments (1)

please name and shame this fake farmer. A person who has used money and his own resources cannot leave the farm and the animals to become like this.

X-MAN IV - 7 December 2016

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