NSPCA to lay animal cruelty charges against EL zoo

17:28 (GMT+2) Mon, 29 May 2017

The National Council of SPCA's said it would lay animal cruelty charges against the East London Zoo.

This, after a badly neglected baboon had to be euthenised following an unannounced inspection of the zoo last Thursday.

"As the National Council of SPCAs continues our investigation and monitors the situation at the East London Zoo, it is confirmed that criminal charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act will be laid against all responsible for the cruelty, suffering, neglect and unacceptable conditions found at the facility," said NSPCA inspector, Cassandra McDonald.

"This follows an unannounced pro-active inspection by the NSPCA's Wildlife Protection Unit on Thursday 26 May 2017. They were informed that the male Chacma baboon, William, was suffering from some form of paralysis in his hind legs and that a Veterinarian had been contacted the previous day, but that he would only be available to attend to the animal on Friday 27 May," she said..

McDonald said in a statement that the male baboon appeared lethargic in his enclosure.  "He moved by dragging his lower body. In the light of his severely limited movement and his general body condition which was considered to be shocking, the NSPCA Inspectors issued a warning in terms of the Animals Protection Act, requiring the baboon to be examined by a Veterinarian by close of business and the report to be forwarded to them".

"The warning was not complied with. No veterinarian had been in attendance and the baboon had not been assisted. The animal was left to suffer," McDonald said.

McDonald said that the NSPCA's return visit the following day revealed a significant deterioration in the condition of the baboon.

"He had open, bleeding wounds and was found in the exact area as the previous day. The concrete flooring around the animal was covered in blood. Pieces of his flesh were visible. The stench of urine was overpowering and unbearable. Flies were swarming around the animal. In my opinion, the baboon was in severe distress," she said.

McDonald said that the serious and worsening condition of the animal led to the NSPCA requesting that the baboon be signed over into their custody to render assistance. "The baboon was sedated. He had large open wounds and lesions on his buttocks. Flesh had been eroded away. The wounds appeared to be infected and were infested with maggots. The baboon appeared to be grossly underweight," she said..

"To prevent further suffering, the baboon was humanely euthanased on site. The result of the post mortem examination is awaited," McDonald said.

The East London zoo is run by the Buffalo City Municipality which could also be cited in the charges.