dog kept in an underwear drawer

Animal Hoarding

An elderly Bloemfontein woman pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty after the Bloemfontein SPCA seized from her premises 115 dogs that were in a serious and neglected state.

We originally responded to a tip off about a dog with a suspected broken leg. On arrival at the address, we indeed found a Dachshund with a broken leg, but decided to investigate further after noticing a terrible stench coming from the house.

It was pitch dark inside the house and we were unable to turn on any lights. There was dog faeces everywhere, including the windows and curtains. Everywhere we looked we saw dogs.

We opened a kitchen cupboard and found a dog behind the pots and pans, and another behind the toaster. The dogs were all very frightened. We even found a Chihuahua that had crept inside the fork and knife drawer. We then went into the bedroom and opened a cupboard. Another Chihuahua crawled out from amongst the underwear in one of the drawers. We opened another cupboard and found, among the blankets, a budgie inside a cage. Then we heard a sound coming from a built-in wardrobe, which we opened to find a small brown Dachshund. The dog had scratched the door so hard it has almost made a hole through it.

In the bathroom we found two twin tub washing machines. There were beautiful cloths draped over the machines and we did not notice anything at first. Then we heard a sound coming from inside the machines. In one we found a Maltese Poodle that was so full of faeces, maggots had started eating the little dog. In the other machine we found a brown Toy Pom that was terribly frightened. We also found two budgies and two cockatiels under a blanket. The cockatiels' mouths were fused, rendering them almost unable to eat and they had eye disease.

There was no food or water for any of the animals. We seized all the dogs and, after taking them to the veterinary for examination, took them to Bloemfontein SPCA.

The owner, Petra Paulson appeared in court and pleaded guilt to animal cruelty. She underwent psychiatric observation and was found to be suffering from a syndrome of animal hoarding. She was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for three years and ordered to complete a NICRO programme. In terms of section 3 (c) of the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962, the court declared Paulsen unfit to own or be in charge of any animals for a period of 5 (five) years.


This Maltese was kept in a washing machine.


The damaged cupboard door where the frantic Dacshund tried to escape.


Kept in the dark under a blanket, this budgie was in terrible condition.