Woman Arrested for Rescuing Neglected Dogs

A mission to rescue a neglected dog and her pups went horribly wrong over the weekend when a woman was detained following allegations by the owner of the dog she had stolen his dog and her pups.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was called in at the last minute to negotiate her rights in what has been deemed a case of obvious “animal neglect”.

Laura Ahrens-Voigts saved the life of a starving dog roaming the streets looking for food to feed her six puppies which lay in a dug out hole in the backyard of a Cimbebasia house.

She spent weeks leading up to the incident making sure that food and water was put down for the dog through the gate, and made several attempts to contact the owner who was hardly ever at home.

The final straw came after she got news from one of the neighbour’s children that two of the puppies had died in the hole. Coupled with this, she saved the Labrador from nearly being hit by a car at the busy Aucor intersection the same day, at which point she picked the animal off the streets, and took the remaining six puppies to her house.

For two weeks she gave them vet care, food and shelter and nursed them back to health.

Laura said the owner was aware that she had been feeding and caring for his animals, and he seemed fine with it. On many days the dog was locked outside and couldn’t get back in to her puppies so that they could suckle from her and she was miserably thin.

But on Friday, the owner who claimed to be a police officer arrived at her home demanding his dogs back and threatening her with jail. He was accompanied by City Police officers who arrested her and took her to the charge office, where a case of theft of a dog was opened.

On Saturday morning the owner of the dogs returned to Laura’s house with more police officers who arrested her again, demanding the three pups she had re-homed during the foster process be given back.

“The police wanted to throw me into the back of the van, but I insisted on driving in my own car to the police station with an escort. I was treated like a criminal, but said that because of the neglect inflicted upon these dogs, I wanted to hand them to the SPCA because I did not think the owner was capable of caring for his animals,” said the good Samaritan.

“The man was trying to extort money out of me, and demanded $3 000 a puppy in front of all the officers -but I negotiated to pay him N$1 500 which I handed over to him in the police station, in lieu of the three pups I re-homed – at no charge to the new owners. I also gave the mother and three pups back to him with food and bowls.

“My only concern through all of this was for the well-being of this animal and her pups, and to find good homes which I managed to do through FB,” added Laura who said she couldn’t stand back and watch the suffering of the dog and her puppies any more.

The media visited the dog owner’s house to get his side of the story, but was sworn at by an aggressive man, who called ‘cops’ and threatened to have the journalist arrested.

The dog had been given a blanket to lie on and she had one puppy left, but there were concerns that she had ‘milk fever’ and would need veterinary care.

“There are no dogs dying here, go and find someone else to bother,” he screamed.

Meanwhile a huge support group has been started by Laura on Facebook, who categorically voiced her dissatisfaction with the SPCA’s treatment of her.

In fact a heavyweight businessman who prefers to remain anonymous has offered to pay for Laura’s legal fees and was prepared to put down N$5 000 to adopt the remaining puppies.

Brigitte Meissner the general manager of the SPCA said that without evidence of cruelty to an animal the SPCA cannot intervene.

“We would prefer if people would bring the matter of neglect and cruelty to our attention immediately in order for us to respond and apply the law if necessary, because there are certain procedures in place to remove dogs from people’s yards.

“Although this is an emotional matter, people must understand that the SPCA has a role to play in society, which it has done since 1950.

“We function purely on donations – and are understaffed with cruelty inspectors in the field, and are constantly fighting a battle to do our best for the animals in our care,” stated Meissner.

“Instead of people always being quick to criticise us, why don’t they sign up as members and become involved with our committee AGM meetings, where they can make changes, stand up for the rights of animals and help improve the SPCA,” said Meissner.

Source : New Era

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