unscrupulous dog breeding

Prisoners of greed

Bloemfontein SPCA recently raided the premises of a registered dog breeder and rescued 70 small dogs that had suffered for months, some even years.

Inspectors who conducted the raid described it as a ‘house of horror’, with the breeder placing profit over the well-being of the dogs. The animals, many of which were malnourished, were housed in faeces-encrusted wire crates, plastic crates and small cages, and suffering from extreme neglect.

They had skin and eye diseases, rotten teeth, matted and tick infested fur. Some had open sores and cancerous growths on their bodies. Used simply as breeding stock, many of the dogs had spent their entire lives confined to tiny wire cages, which inhibited natural behaviour such as running, playing end even stretching. A number of them were over the age of 14 years.

We found two Yorkshire terriers that had been kept for a very long time in a wire construction of some sort. The bottom of the construction was made up of loose wires. There was nothing solid, so the dogs stayed on this wire day in and day out. Their feet were full of sores.

The case came to our attention after we received a complaint from a vet who was treating a puppy that had been purchased from the breeder. The dog had been brought in by its new owner with a severe and contagious skin infection. We also received a handful of reports from people whose puppies, bought from the same breeder, died soon after.

The pups, sold as ‘thoroughbreds’, can fetch up to R4000 each and unsuspecting people are unaware of the conditions under which they have been born and the diseases and genetic disorders they may carry.

The facility had been run by a reputable breeder, but when she died her daughter, Susara Dorothea (Doortjie) Kruger, took over the business.

The Bloemfontein SPCA confiscated the dogs and took Kruger to court. She admitted to charges of animal neglect, cruelty and failing to provide veterinary care for sick animals. She was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment, suspended for three years on condition she is not found guilty of any contravention of Act 71 of 1962. She is prohibited to have any animal for any purpose for 5 years.

Kept in a wire cage, these Yorkshire terriers' feet were in bad condition.

Many of the dogs had rotten teeth, skin and eye diseases, tick and flea infestations and even deformities.