What authority does the SPCA have?

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What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby ghoti » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:32 pm

Okay, I know the topic sounds dodge, but there is a valid reason for me asking this question. First off let me make it clear, I have no problem with most of what the SPCA does and last year I ran a charity event where we raised R50 000 where one of our main beneficiaries was the SPCA. I absolutely love animals and do a lot to donate money towards them.

Anyways, it appears I have upset someone high up at the SPCA. The other day there was a very unfortunate article that ran a story about how some exotic animals were found in a container and were dying/suffering because of neglect. The spokesperson for the SPCA blamed people in the exotic animal trade, saying if there was not a demand then these animals would not be abused animals.

I countered that and told them, thats like saying that dog owners are responsible for dog farms and dog fight clubs. If people didnt have dogs, then there would be no dog farms (outside of China).

Yes, bad people do bad things, it happens in the exotic animal trade and it happens in the domestic animal trade. However, the exotic animal market is a lot like the domesticated animal market. The majority of us love our animals and go out of our way to make sure they are happy, spoilt and cared for. In fact, thanks to conservation through captive breeding, species have been saved from extinction by private breeders and reintroduced into the wild.

So I email the SPCA and let them know that Im not going to bust my balls for them and raise money for them if they use such a broad brush to paint everyone in the trade bad.

This upset the person I emailed who basically ignored my entire argument, blamed the exotic animal trade again and then started threatening me with coming to raid my house to check out my animals.

I said that I have no problem with them coming at any time to look at my animals (they are all very spoilt, have huge habitats and have permits), but if they are going to come, because they have such strong and unreasonable ideological views... I want nature conservation to be there as well.

I have a good relationship with Nature conservation (to me, they are the authority I listen to). I told the SPCA that they have a PETA like ideological blindness and if they want to come to my house, can we please make sure there is a qualified herpetologist from nature conservation with them. I dont want some untrained fool hurting my animals or not understanding their habitats. Put simply, I dont trust the SPCA to know what they are doing with my specific animals. I want qualified professionals from government who know what they are doing there as well. I told him that I will pay for or speak to nature conservation officials to get them to assist him in this.

This request seemed to piss the SPCA guy off more and he has come back with that I must give him my address and that they never make an appointment and they will raid whenever they want to.

Now I really dont trust this guy not to abuse any power / privilege he has as he flat out has stated that he doesnt approve of my legal and permitted animals. I really want qualified professionals from nature conservation there.

What legal authority does the SPCA have? Can I tell him he is welcome to come anytime as long as he has a warrant or nature conservation official with him?

Lastly, what are good alternative nature conservation organizations that I can donate to? For now its unlikely that I will send money to the SPCA and would rather the money went to saving rhinos or other endangered animals.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby Chopper 1 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:03 pm

You would be stupid to give him your address....
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby krah » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:35 pm

So I'm not great at all this legal stuff, but here's a link to the legal page on the NSPCA website. Maybe it will make sense to you. As far as I know, no one may enter your premises without permission and warning/appointment unless they have a warrant.

http://www.nspca.co.za/ClientData/10072 ... %20res.pdf

Personally, I would either tell the gentleman to go get $#@!ed or make his rudeness and arrogance known to his superiors and the public.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby ghoti » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:04 pm

Chopper 1 wrote:You would be stupid to give him your address....

I really have nothing to hide. I have a very transparent life. Everything of mine is legal and well cared for. If he comes, I will just record him for youtube or something. Its not like they can do anything to me but waste police time and look silly.

I think breeders play an important roll in conservation. We can help breed endangered species to ensure their long term survival and reintroduction into areas where they are at risk. It annoys me that responsible breeders gets clumped with the illegal poaching trade. The SPCA are so stuck in ideology on this matter that they are fighting the wrong people. Almost all of us are here for our passion for these animals. If I ever see someone mistreating or being cruel to an animal, I will be the first person to report them.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby Lillypod » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:12 pm

SPCA was at my house before (because I have to many animals according to them) and yes, they did look very stupid (aka: They said they heard that I keep a chinchilla in a cage and that cats should not live in cages, so they don't know anything about exotics anyway). Also they DO NEED A WARRANT! They entered my property without one and they did their best to make what I have as bad as they possibly could, even getting the municipality to come to my home (who didn't care about anything except my dogs licences). Turns out I made a buddy of theirs' very angry so they were abusing their "power".

My dad told them next time if they want to enter his property they should come when he is home, with a warrant, a police man/woman and a qualified exotic vet as they have proven that they do not know what they are talking about.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby Kakibos » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:36 pm

The SPCA does not have the right to enter your premises. If they do, they need a warrant accompanied by the police. The only time when they do not need a warrant, but then they must still be accompanied by the police is when an illegal activity like say a dog fight is in progress and there is no time to get a warrant.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby iiviii » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:27 am

As everyone said, SPCA needs a warrant and to get the warrant they need probable cause ( and evidence there of ). If he simply wants to play the "my b@lls are bigger than yours" game then I would report him to his seniors. I had someone from our complex report me for "abusing my reptiles" even though they had never been inside my house, needless to say the SPCA showed up with no warrant and no police, but being the slightly arrogant type I am, I invited them in and insisted that they opened the cages and checked for mites / defects / injuries, and as usual, everyone was to scared to come within 3m of the cages even though I told them I do not have any venomous snakes. By the end of the whole 30min that they were here I made three new friends and got complimented on how clean and visually appealing my enclosures are. At the end of the day, if he is just trying to push points, then just ignore him and let the people above him know that he is abusing his power. If that does not help, get hold of the Daily Dispatch, I'm sure they will look forward to another "corrupt SPCA official abuses position for own gain" headline.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby Hantam » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:46 am


8. Powers of officers of society for prevention of cruelty to animals

(1) If authorized thereto by writing under the hand of the magistrate of a district, any officer of any society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may in that district -

(a) without warrant and at any time with the consent of the owner or occupier, or failing such consent on obtaining an order from a magistrate, enter any premises where any animal is kept, for the purpose of examining the conditions under which it is so kept;

(b) without warrant arrest any person who is suspected on reasonable grounds of having committed an offence under this Act, if there is reason to believe that the ends of justice would be defeated by the delay in obtaining a warrant;

(c) on the arrest of any person on a charge of an offence under this Act, seize any animal or thing in the possession or custody of that person at the time of the arrest and take it forthwith to a police officer, who shall deal with it in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977);
[Para. (c) substituted by s. 7 of Act 20/85]

(d) exercise in respect of any animal the powers conferred by subsection (1) of section five upon a police officer and in respect of such exercise of those powers, the provisions of the said section shall mutatis mutandis apply.

(2) Any authority granted under subsection (1) may at any time for good cause be revoked by the magistrate of the district.

(3) An officer to whom authority has been granted under subsection (1) shall, when required to do so in the exercise of his powers, produce that authority for inspection.

(4) Any person who wilfully obstructs, hinders or resists an officer authorized under subsection (1) in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him or conceals any animal or thing with intent to defeat the exercise of such powers, or who upon demand fails to give his name and address to such officer, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to the penalties set out in subsection (1) of section two.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby Bushviper » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:08 am

The SPCA have no extra rights any more than any other citizen. They cannot come and "inspect" unless they have a complaint. You have the right to see the complaint as well. They may only enter your property if they feel an animal is being abused and the danger is imminent. They also have to be sure a warrant would have been issued if requested. If it is a problem like housing or some non emergency situation then they need a warrant. They need to be accompanied by a policeman too. Read the warrant carefully as it states when they may be there, who may be there and what they are allowed to look for. Without a warrant not even a policeman is allowed to enter your house (dwelling). They may enter your property and look through buildings but not your house. 'Provided that such police official shall not enter any private dwelling without the consent of the occupier thereof." CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 51 OF 1977 section 26.

You are allowed to record the entire event. You need not answer any questions including "what snake is in this cage" so if they get bitten and die it is not your fault. If you accidentally make a mistake with identification and they get bitten then you are in trouble so rather keep quiet. Neither they nor the police may confiscate any animals. They may seize them if they feel they are in dire need of medical care but ONLY A COURT can confiscate anything from you. You have to get a signed receipt for anything that they take. Not size. sex and condition of the animal and if possible photograph it.

I would suggest that you read the following : Not many South Africans are aware of the fact that on the 12th of April 2013 a proclamation was published in the Government Gazette, whereby Pres. Zuma set 27 April 2013 as the date on which the Protection from Harassment Act (Act no. 17 of 2011) came into operation. The purpose of this act is to provide for the issuing of protection orders against harassment and to afford victims of harassment with an effective remedy against such behaviour.

Read http://www.polity.org.za/article/protec ... 2013-07-16 as well as http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/2011-017.pdf

I would suggest that considering that it does not cost money I would go ahead and do this before they take your animals and euthanase them as they have done in other cases.

In terms of this Act harassment is defined as either directly or indirectly engaging in conduct that the harasser knows or ought to know –

(a) causes harm or inspires the reasonable belief that harm may be caused to the

complainant or a related person by unreasonably-

(i) following, watching. pursuing or accosting of the complainant or a related person, or loitering outside of or near the building or place where the complainant or a related person resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be;

(ii) engaging in verbal, electronic or any other communication aimed at the complainant or a related person, by any means, whether or not conversation ensues; or

(iii) sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail or other objects to the complainant or a related person or leaving them where they will be found by, given to or brought to the attention of, the complainant or a related person; ........
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby mental-tree » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:40 am

Why not forward all of the emails exchanged between yourself and the SPCA to the news agency that published the SPCA's article.

Theoretically the SPCA is a good organization but in practice not so much. Their overzealous, authority drunk staff often take animals from good homes simply because they have a personal issue with the animals owner.

Had them steal one of my dogs a few years back because a neighbor complained about my dogs barking at her dogs(WTF!?) and when the SPCA inspector entered my yard, while no one was home and with out permission, the queen b!tch went for him :D. Anyway after they took my dog I wrote into the local paper who were more than happy to publish my story. The SPCA then contacted me to apologize for everything that transpired and to inform me that my dog had been adopted. Needless to say a week later my dog was returned to me. According to the SPCA this was because Bella(my dog)had become depressed and was not eating so the "adoptees" returned her to the SPCA. Coincidentally this was a day after I threatened legal action.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby ghoti » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:41 pm

Thank you for all the informative responses. I also got some legal advice and have responded in a level headed and fair way.

I told him his choices are:

1) If he really wants to see how well looked after exotic animals are kept then he can make an appointment so I can make sure the peeps at nature conservation are there
2) Alternatively he can waste police time and resources and come inspect my house, but then I would record it for youtube and publish the details in the newspaper.

I also told him its better to work with the exotic animal breeders to catch the abusers. I was firm, but polite. I dont think he will respond to me again.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby Creepy Critters » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:11 pm

Since when did the NSPCA become an animal activist group opposed to an animal protection organization ? Which is in their constitution.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby mental-tree » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:15 am


The ignorance within the SPCA is actually astounding. Almost as bad as SANCA's ignorance towards cannabis.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby ghoti » Wed May 28, 2014 2:13 pm

And so they did it again!!!!

Our local Lion Park is owned by a group of animal lovers. They provide a great venue for people to interact and learn about lions. They posted a picture on their Facebook page mentioning that they have new albino cubs for people to interact with.

Next minute a woman by the name of Sandy Taylor who works with the SPCA took that picture and put it onto a graphic that talks about canned lion hunting and petting for profit. I was absolutely shocked by this. Everyone who knows that park knows they dont sell their lions on for hunting!!!!

Needless to say the Lion Park had to respond to these dishonest attacks:

Over the past few days, The Lion Park's Facebook page has been inundated with negative posts, comments and even threats due to being misled by false allegations made against us. We have been accused of many despicable practices including breeding, supplying and hand-rearing lion cubs for the canned lion hunting industry. We have even been accused of practising canned lion hunting ourselves. This is unfortunately an all too common practice with many parks in South Africa. We are not one of them! Our page is a platform between ourselves and our supporters. All these negative posts and comments on our wall, will be deleted as they appear. We will not be drawn into a mudslinging match by all the ignorant and misled people about us on our wall. We have also been overwhelmed by the support shown to us by the general public and our loyal visitors. So a huge thanks to all of you. We have had people express gratitude that we opened The Lion Park so that all East Londoners and its visitors can have a place where they can afford visit and interact with various animals and to not cater to only to the rich and elite.

That being said, we will continue to do what we do best. We will keep on creating the best possible environment for our animals and visitors.

We have been open for 12 years and have always had an open door policy with the East London SPCA and NSPCA inspectors. The East London SPCA inspect the park numerous times throughout the year and we have always been on hand and open to discuss policies and recommendations with them. Sandy Taylor's posts on various social networking sites have come as a complete surprise because we have no idea who she even is. We have never met her or even received a request from her to meet and to discuss our policies.

We will continue to support the East London SPCA and various other organisations. After all, all animals health and well-being is what is important to us and not what those in charge may think of us or say about us.

I want to go on record here and say I am shocked and disgusted by the actions of the SPCA in regards to our local lion park.
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Re: What authority does the SPCA have?

Postby Ruan Stander » Wed May 28, 2014 9:22 pm

I think overpopulation of the planet is the cause of most problems. Overpopulation = way too many bored people around = more of this kind of rubbish. People should really just mind their own business.
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