SPCA to investigate allegations of animal abuse against owner

Hendry was severely malnourished and weighed only 4,4kg as opposed to the 13kg of the average Macaque.

The community is outraged after the death of Hendry, the Macaque monkey that was euthanised last week.

According to Roodepoort SPCA manager Mandy Cattanach, Hendry was signed over by the owner of the Pet and Bird Farm, Glen Hatfield, but it was too late to save him and he had to be euthanised. “A senior inspector from the SPCA, Eric Taljaard, visited the Bird Farm last week and noticed that Hendry’s outside cage was empty. He found Hendry stuffed into a parrot cage. The owner was forced to sign the monkey over to the SPCA because Hendry was malnourished and had a discharge from the eyes and nose. A healthy Macaque monkey should weight about 13kg, Hendry weighed only 4,4kg. He had lost the will to fight. We held his ice-cold hand and stroked his fur when he was euthanised. He let out a small peep before he passed on.”

Cattanach said Hendry had suffered enough. “This was the best option for him. He was never allowed to socialise with his kind and died a lonely death.”

The SPCA is now investigating various options in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.

For many years, the West Rand Pet and Bird Farm has been a contentious issue. Many visitors sang the praises of the owner for keeping the animals in a good condition while others were disgusted at the state in which the animals had to live. “The place has always been bad and they have received numerous warnings over the years. Most of the time the water was dirty and the cages stank. The bearded dragons don’t have the right UV lights or diet, the aviary is in a bad condition, there is no ventilation and the sawdust on the floor attracts mice and rats which live in the burrows.

“In 2013 there were eight kittens suffering from the sniffles; they were feeding live mice to snakes, even though doing so is against the law, the rabbit cage was littered with old  faeces and food, and the pot-bellied pigs had mange. The owl that died a mysterious death was kept in the dark without the opportunity to stretch its wing and fly around. The Capuchin monkey’s albino baby was stolen, the pony was losing weight, and the snakes were malnourished. And the list goes on.”

Cattanach said the most frustrating part is that SPCA officials can see the dire circumstances in which the animals live, but their hands are tied. “Every time we pay a visit to the place we issue warnings to fix the problems. When we go back to check, everything is in a better state. The law requires that animals must have shelter, food, water and basic veterinary care. The Pet and Bird Farm provides the animals’ basic needs. But the law doesn’t stipulate what size a cage should be. The fact that the animals’ cages are too small and dirty, the animals’ diet is inadequate, and they don’t receive proper veterinary care, is not covered by the law. The case would not be strong enough should we try to go to court.”

West Rand Pet and Bird Farm exposed

According to Cattanach, Hatfield once chased her off the premises after she had pointed out various problems. “Until now, he still refuses to surrender any animals, except the sick ones. All I can ask is for people not to support him, not to visit the place, and not to take their children there.”

Hatfield has refuted all allegations and cited them as being ridiculous. “The monkey wasn’t removed by the SPCA. They have been asking for the monkey for quite some time to give it a better environment where it can socialise with its own kind. During a SPCA visit last week I signed Hendry over to them.”

He said Hendry was taken inside and given medication. “The SPCA said they would take him to the vet to have him checked out, but I have not received any information or report from the SPCA. During their many visits, they always expressed their satisfaction and were only concerned that Hendry did not have a mate. There were no other problems.”

Hatfield also said the claims that Hendry was malnourished were preposterous since he was fed on a daily basis. “The animals are well looked after and the SPCA has been satisfied with the state in which they are kept. We paid good money to have them there, why would we not take care of them?” he asked.

Hatfield went on to say that Hendry was very old, close to 20 years and had lived at the zoo for many years. “Hundreds of people visit the zoo and they are very appreciative and happy to go there.”

Cattanach has reiterated that the SPCA will not stop fighting until all the animals at the Pet and Bird Farm have been surrendered to the SPCA.

Warning: More graphic photos here

Related articles:

Pet and bird farm back in claws of controversial owners

Puppies in appalling conditions at West Rand Pet and Bird Farm

SPCA raids pet and bird farm

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Roelien Vorster

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