Offenders can get fined R40K or jail time for animal-related hit-and-runs incidents

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An animal that is left to suffer is an offence that falls within the parameters of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962.

The Kloof and Highway Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in KwaZulu-Natal has warned that a hit-and-run incident that involves an animal is a criminal offence and the guilty party could face jail time or a maximum fine of R40,000.

“If anyone witnesses someone hitting an animal with their car, and driving off, they can report it to their closest SPCA with a description of the vehicle and a vehicle registration number.

“It has to be done immediately so that our inspectorate can collect the injured animal and obtain veterinary treatment to prevent unnecessary suffering,” said the local SPCA’s inspectorate manager, Sue Noakes.

An animal that is left to suffer is an offence that falls within the parameters of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962.

The Kloof and Highway SPCA has never been involved in the prosecution of any animal cruelty cases where animals were hit by a car or left to suffer, but if a resident should see an incident of this nature occur they are urged to report it to the animal welfare organisation immediately, give a sworn affidavit as well as be willing to testify in court.

“The prosecutor has to prove that the driver never called or asked anyone to call the SPCA to assist the injured animal. A post-mortem needs to be done on the animal and a veterinarian needs to testify that the animal suffered if it was not killed immediately.

“Unfortunately, even with solid evidence, SPCA’s still battle to get animal cruelty cases prosecuted as such cases are mostly not regarded as high priority cases by our authorities,” said Noakes.

The perpetrator could face a 12-month prison term or a R40,000 fine.

“On the other side of the spectrum, the eThekwini Municipal by-laws, enforced by metro police, state that animals should be contained in their premises and an owner can be fined when his/her dogs are in the street.

“In Gauteng, drivers have opened civil cases against animal owners after their vehicles were damaged because their pets were on the road,” she said.

This article first appeared on Highway Mail and was republished with permission.

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