Additional complaints of animal cruelty

In many stock theft incidents cattle or sheep are killed in extremely cruel ways. This includes cows being slaughtered alive and lambs beaten to death by breaking their heads against rocks or telephone poles.

Victims of such offences may, apart from charges of theft, lay an additional charge of animal cruelty under the Animals Protection Act (Act 71 of 1962).

The Act stipulates that it is an offence to:

  • neglect, anger or mutilate animals • keep animals in dirty or parasitic conditions
  • fail to render or procure veterinary assistance if needed
  • fail to put down an animal if it is suffering unnecessarily
  • confine, chain or knee-halter any animal, causing the animal to suffer
  • keep an animal in conditions affording inadequate shelter, light or ventilation or expose it to excessive heat, cold, sun, rain and dust or without affording adequate provision of feed or water
  • incite or tease an animal or incite it to attack another animal or keep an animal with the purpose of fighting.

A person guilty of such offences can, when convicted, be fined or sentenced to a period of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or longer if such a sentence is imposed without the choice of a fine.