SAASIC animal maltreatment case drags on

301

This month (May) is the second anniversary of the National Council of SPCAs (NPSCA) bringing charges again a SA Army specialist unit in connection with animal maltreatment and neglect and the case has yet to make it onto a court roll.

Criminal charges were laid against Potchefstroom-based SAASIC (SA Army Specialist Infantry Capability) unit officers for starvation and neglect of horses in May 2018. Six months later another charge – deliberate brutality to animals – was added.

NSPCA public relations officer Meg Wilson told defenceWeb: “As with most of the cases brought by the NSPCA the wheels of justice turn slowly, sometimes exceedingly so”.

She added there was “constant contact” between the national animal protection and welfare organisation and investigating police officers.

This is notwithstanding problems experienced by NSPCA inspectors assigned to the SAASIC case.

Last year defenceWeb was told “misinformation relating to the dockets was given by the SAPS, stating both were delivered to court. It was later established this was not the case”.

“Detectives confirmed they attempted to obtain statements from the accused on a number of occasions but were met with scornful refusal and hindrance into the investigation. The Officer Commanding SAASIC allegedly told police neither he nor any SAASIC member would provide statements.”

The first NSPCA inspections at the unit’s Potchefstroom base saw 25 horses euthanased and a further 76 moved to a military facility north-west of Pretoria.

The NSPCA does not have the option of seeking a private prosecution in the SAASIC case. This is because the State has taken it on, closing the door to private prosecution.