National 26.7.2016 10:51 am

Woman distraught as SPCA removes her 170 cats

Engela Botha was devastated when the SPCA inspectors took her cats away. PHOTO: Roelien Vorster

Engela Botha was devastated when the SPCA inspectors took her cats away. PHOTO: Roelien Vorster

The SPCA says 64 cats the woman surrendered voluntarily had to be put down as they were ‘in a terrible state’.

It was an emotional week for Engela Botha when the Roodepoort SPCA removed a total of 170 cats from her property. She voluntarily surrendered 64 cats on Tuesday, but the remaining 106 cats were confiscated in terms of a court order on Friday, Roodepoort Rekord reports.

“They were my life; I lived for my cats,” an emotional Botha said. She burst into tears when a SPCA inspector took a cat basket out of her house. “They are destroying me. I don’t know what I’ll do if all my cats are gone.”

Botha, who was allegedly at first aggressive towards the Rekord journalist and the SPCA inspectors, calmed down and said she’d been rescuing cats for the past 10 years.

“I rescued two cats from a man who kept them in the boot of a car. I rescued cats that were dumped by their owners. My cats are all well-fed, cared for and loved,” Botha said.

The manager of the Roodepoort SPCA, Mandy Cattanach, tells a different story.

“The 64 cats Botha signed over on Tuesday were in a terrible state. They were suffering from ringworm, Feline Aids, Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus (FIPV), dental problems, sniffles, lesions and ear mites. Some of them had big open bite wounds on their backs and ulcers in their mouths that prevented them from eating. They were emaciated, and had chronic worm infestations. Some of these illnesses are highly contagious, so there was no way I could keep them with the other cats at the SPCA. We had no alternative but to euthanise them,” Cattanach said.

Botha said her problems started when a woman visited her with the aim of adopting one of the cats. “She left and reported me. The next thing, the SPCA was at my gate. They bullied me to gain entry to my property and then promptly took some of the cats. They said they were going to have a vet check them, and then bring them back to me. Mandy told a bunch of lies, saying that my cats were all sick. One or two had the sniffles, but all my cats were healthy and were seen by a vet.”

Cattanach said Botha initially refused them access but when Mike Allen, an SPCA inspector, told her that they could come back with a warrant, she cooperated and allowed them onto the property.

“I was utterly shocked at the extremely poor conditions the cats had to live in. We could smell the urine and faeces from the fence. The cats were locked inside the house with no ventilation. The cattery was dirty and the litter boxes were overflowing. When we entered what Botha called the sick room, I could not breathe due to the stench. There were about 20 cats, all the windows were closed and a heater was on. I asked her how anyone could live like this and how she could subject her cats to these conditions.”

According to Cattanach they waited two days to obtain a court order to confiscate the remaining cats.

While the SPCA took the cats out, Botha was comforted by her granddaughter Pasedena Botha, who said she is devastated about this. “My grandmother took good care of the cats. This is terrible.”

Caxton News Service

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