It is that time of the year again, when scammers do their best to get the most out of unsuspecting residents. Over the past few weeks, there has been an increase in the illegal animal trade in Cape Town.
The Helderberg Wildlife Rescue service said that they received a number of reports of people trying to peddle puppies and kittens at robots and in residential areas, and have warned against it.
“Please do not buy animals from them. Rather report it to either animal welfare, [the] SPCA, or to us, as it is illegal,” said the animal rescue service in a Facebook post.
Citizens are encouraged to provide as many details as possible when reporting these incidents, such the time, date and exact location, as well as a full description of the seller.
Last year, in February 2019, the Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch (AWSS) noticed also noticed a spike in illegal puppy trading across Stellenbosch, with most sales taking place in and around the campuses.
In a column penned in the Eikestadnuus, AWSS’ spokesperson Jessica Perrins, said buying an animal from the side of the road is not an act of kindness but a perpetuation of the cycle of animal cruelty.
The AWSS noted that the spike in sales coincided with the arrival of fresh first-year students at the university, as sellers prey on their vulnerability and lack of knowledge.
“Given the poor conditions of many of the younger puppies for sale, it is assumed they are being bred by corrupt backyard breeders. If the public are offered a pedigreed puppy there is every likelihood it is stolen,” said Perrins.
The puppies are often far too young to be separated from their mothers and are susceptible to potentially fatal diseases because of a compromised immune system. This means that when they are taken in by the AWSS, all the puppies in their care are at risk of contracting diseases.
Perrins also said many of the puppies have docked tails, which is an “act of cruelty [that] is illegal and can result in imprisonment and/or a fine”.
Illegal sellers employ deplorable sales pitches and techniques and often guilt-trip the public into buying their animals by threatening to dump the animal if it is not bought.
To adopt an animal legally, visit the AWSS’ website: http://awss.co.za