South Africa seize LDF horses

South Africa seize LDF horses

MASERU – ABOUT 68 horses from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) have been confiscated by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
The SPCA said the LDF had neglected the horses.
Media reports in South African said six horses had already died while three others are critically ill.
LDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mashidi Mashidi however denied that the horses were neglected.
Lt Col Mashidi said the animals were already being attended to when the SPCA confiscated them.
He said the LDF had already sent a delegation to assess the animals’ situation.

Lt Col Mashidi said people who were looking after the animals on the farm were not aware that those horses had contracted some diseases.
But he denied that the animals were starving and dehydrated.
“There is a lot of grass on the farm and the animals had enough to feed on,” Lt. Col Mashidi said.
He said the animals were confiscated on Tuesday, a day after the army had started dealing with the issue.
He said it is true that some of the horses were “not doing well” the situation is not as bad as portrayed by the media.
The horses were being kept on a small plot in Hobhouse in the Free State province.
The SPCA descended on the plot after complaints from some people who reported that the horses had been left to starve.
“They could not get up at all and were terribly weak and starving. The horses were completely dehydrated. Euthanasia was promptly administered to them by the Bloemfontein SPCA inspectors,” media reports said.

Officials were shocked at the state of the horses, reports said.
The surviving horses are at a SPCA facility.
Lt Col Mashidi said he is not sure how long the animals would be at SPCA because they are yet to start negotiations.
He said the army still has cattle and sheep on the farm.
He said a few weeks earlier, the army brought some of the sick horses to Lesotho “for proper care”.
He flatly denied allegations that the army is unable to take care of the animals.
The SPCA is contemplating bringing charges against those who had the responsibility to take care of the horses.

According to the South African Animal Protection Act of 1962 it is a criminal offence to starve or under-feed any animal.
The law also makes it a crime to “deliberately or without reasonable cause or excuse, abandons it, whether permanently or not in circumstances likely to cause that animal unnecessary suffering”.
The Act says if a person is found guilty of the offence of cruelty to animals, he shall be “liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding R4 000”.
It says if the convict is in default of payment he shall be jailed for a “period not exceeding 12 months … without the option of a fine, or, where any such act or omission is of a willful and aggravated nature, to a whipping not exceeding six strokes…”

The Act gives South Africa’s courts power to “order such animal to be destroyed if in the opinion of the court it would be cruel to keep such animal alive”.
The court may also “order that the person convicted be deprived of the ownership of such an animal”.
It also has powers to “declare the person convicted to be unfit to own or be in charge of any animal, or of any animal of a specified kind, for a specified period”.
This means the owner of Hobhouse farm, the LDF, may be subjected to criminal charges and penalties in South Africa for the crime.
However, Advocate Letuka Molati, a local lawyer, says if the farm was under diplomatic indemnity it would not be possible for the South African authorities to charge the LDF criminally for the offence.
“However, that does not stop the commander of the LDF from taking disciplinary measures against the responsible soldiers,” he said.

Majara Molupe

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