A citywide search for the man who allegedly maims pets to evoke sympathy from potential buyers has been successful. The suspect was apprehended on Wandel Street in Dunkley Square, Gardens, where he was found selling mutilated puppies to the public.
“This method of selling puppies apparently garners sympathy from buyers who are moved by the sight of the suffering puppy and then buy it to seek medical care for the poor animal,” City of Cape Town Law Enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said. “Concerned people had banded together on social media and offered rewards of up to R5 000 for information leading to his arrest.”
A Facebook post had gone viral when a woman offered a reward of R500 to track the pet seller down. As the post gained more shares, the reward increased to more than R5 000 in less than 24 hours. The post caused much furor and has since been deleted.
Speaking to IOL, a man claimed his girlfriend had rescued an injured puppy from the pet seller last Thursday evening. He said he had received a call from his girlfriend, who works on Bree Street in the Cape Town CBD and who told him the seller had a puppy with him that was in dire need of medical attention.
By the time he arrived to meet his girlfriend, she had already paid for the puppy, and the seller was nowhere to be found.
One of the puppy’s hind feet was missing, leaving behind nothing but a mutilated, raw stump. According to the man’s girlfriend, the suspect had told her that a car had driven over the dog’s injured leg. However, a vet who examined the puppy found that the foot appeared to have either been chewed by rats or chopped off.
The seller had told the man’s girlfriend he had paid R1 000 for the puppy’s injured foot to be “fixed”, but sold her the dog for just R200.
The Cape of Goodhope SPCA was alerted to the issue, and it warned the public to be vigilant when buying or rescuing puppies that are not from an adoption centre or are being sold by someone who is not an accredited dog breeder.
“If there’s a demand, then there will be a supply. By buying those animals, you are not saving the animal; you are perpetuating the cruelty. You are bringing more animals into the same cycle,” Cape of Good Hope SPCA chief executive Mqabuko Ndukwana said.
The SPCA has been investigating this particular individual for more than three years, and has laid charges against him in the past.
“He was in prison, he spent six months in Pollsmoor and he only came out now,” Ndukwana said.