On 2 February 2016, the State succeeded in convicting a woman in Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court for contravention of the Animals Protection Act 1962. She was sentenced to a total fine of R30 000 or 15 months imprisonment, plus she was ordered to pay the costs incurred by the NSPCA. The charges against her had been laid by the National Council of SPCA arising out of the condition and treatment of some 23 animals on her property – mostly pit-bull terriers.1

Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have existed for decades. All SPCA branches throughout the country survive on donor-funding. The Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1993 is administered by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It established the National Council, and it is this body which oversees the effective enforcement of the various animal protection legislation.2

A. The SPCA brand

  1. It is an offence to use, in connection with any activity, the expression ‘Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ or ‘Dierebeskermingsvereniging’ or any abbreviation thereof – for example, SPCA – or any expression which so closely corresponds thereto that it may be misleading, without being registered with the Council.3

  2. If a society is registered, it may only use such a branding in connection with the performance of its functions for the purposes of the Act.4 A breach of this prohibition constitutes an offence.5

B. Inspectors

  1. The Council (managed and controlled by a Board) can appoint inspectors to assist in the implementation and policing of the Act. Any person who obstructs or hinders the Board, or any inspector, in the exercise of powers or the performance of duties or functions under the Act commits an offence.6

  2. Any person who falsely holds himself out to be an inspector, or a representative of the Board commits an offence.7

  1. ‘Landmark Court Sentencing’. 

  2. For example: the Animal Protection Act 162; the Performing Animals Protection Act 1935; the Animal Diseases Act 1984; the Abattoir Hygiene Act 1992. 

  3. Section 8(1) read with section 15(1)a. 

  4. Or associated Acts, such as the Animals Protection Act 1962; the Abattoir Hygiene Act 1992, and others. 

  5. Section 8(9) read with section 15(1)a. 

  6. Section 15(1)b. 

  7. Section 15(1)c.