It’s really sad to realise that domestic animals are as helpless in the hands of bad owners as were slaves in Ancient Rome.
This was brought home last week at a fund-raising tea party for the Karoo Animal Protection Society held in Rosemary Berry’s “higgledy piggledy” Tokai garden.
Hot from the press, she dropped on our table the annual report of KAPS with its front page story of the “new trend of finding dogs made to live in filthy huts, crates and boxes”.
The photo showed a hut — a prison for three dogs and there was also a report of a dog found living in a metal drum full of water.
“The reason for keeping dogs in such conditions are hard to discern, but clearly it is cruel, unhealthy, baking hot in high temperatures and denies them exercise or any kind of stimulation. And it’s against the law. But taking individual cases through the courts is an uphill battle, costing enormous amounts of time, effort and hours of manpower that have to be paid for.”
The report further stated there were no laws to prevent people from owning animals they had no interest or intention to care for. All the courageous unarmed inspectors could do was to try to rescue and to prevent further damage. In this process they met not only with hostility and resistance but also threatening behaviour and harassment where they lived.
“There is scant respect for the law in the rural townships, and in one case a court order had to be obtained and enforced with help of police, guns drawn.”
Also affected by human indifference during the searing heat of last summer in the Klein Karoo were pigs and piglets left without food and, more importantly water, by the humans they depended on to look after them. These animals were regularly confiscated in strict accordance with the Animals Protection Act but “were better off euthanised”.
“If only we could prevent such suffering in the first place, but the perpetrators know we are only a tiny society trying to monitor vast areas with thousands of households.”
That tiny society does have the support of people in Tokai, Marina da Gama and Parow and we must endeavour to keep it up as other precious donors are dwindling each year.
Reprieve or escape
The Flandorp brothers, Desmond and Richard have long enjoyed a reputation for being Houdinis, somehow escaping eviction from the old Porter Reform School where they’ve run Flandorp Gardening Supplies selling soil, compost and flowers. On August 15 they were ordered to leave the property by Monday August 29 or be forcibly removed and in the last report I read Richard Flandorp was quoted as saying “We’re moving out.”
I assumed they had. But hey ho! To my amazement on a dog walk in the Lower Tokai Park on Tuesday, I spotted a sprinkler in action over what looked like a huge bed of Watsonias and people moving around.
I drove around and found they were still in business.
The old man who filled my boot with potting compost, as he has done many times before, was not prepared to talk. He would only grunt: “They told us to come back.”
I haven’t been able to get hold of the brothers to find out if this is a temporary reprieve or yet another lucky escape. I hope it is.
The Proteas’ run chase in the third ODI at Kingsmead on October 5 to secure a series win with a four-wicket victory over Australia was an incredible cliff-hanger. Just wished author Bill Bryson had seen it too as some of his most hilarious writing in his book on Australia, titled Down Under is about the dullness of cricket, particular listening to it on the radio.
Here’s an extract between two commentators.
“So here comes Stovepipe to bowl on this glorious summer’s afternoon at the MCG. I wonder if he’ll chance an offside drop scone here or go for the quick legover. Stovepipe has an unusual delivery in that he actually leaves the grounds and starts his run just outside the Carlton & United Brewery in Kooyong.”
“That’s right Clive. I haven’t known anyone start his delivery that far back since Stopcock caught his sleeve on the reversing mirror of a number 11 bus during the third test at Brisbane in 1957 and ended up at Goondiwindi four days later owing to some frightful confusion over a changed timetable at Toowoomba Junction.”
People look a bit askance when I tell them I slept two nights in a British pub. I quickly explain it was a former pub, one of the 1 444 which closeddown in the UK last year partly because of the strict drink and drive laws and the cost of beer which is the second highest in Europe.
My hostess told me that pub owners may not rent out their empty building purely for residential purposes. There must be a business component. So the ground floor of the old 16th century building is a village nursery and she lives upstairs. By day the place is quietly humming but afternoons, evening and weekends she and her two sons have the place to themselves.
She had turned it into a lovely home but like so many old heritage buildings, it has a treacherously narrow staircase. Can’t imagine it ever being part of a once busy pub.
Although pubs are closing at the rate of 27 a week, don’t despair. There are still 52 750 left.
Sign outside a maths coach.
“Dear Algebra, Stop asking us to find your X. She’s never going to come back to you. Don’t ask me Y.”