On Wednesday 2 March 2022, Field Officer Philani Nzama went to collect unwanted dogs from the Savannah Park area.
On his way back to the Kloof and Highway SPCA he saw a lady being viciously attacked by 3 dogs while people stood and watched, no one was trying to help the lady.
Field Officer Philani Nzama immediately stopped his vehicle and ran to assist the lady. Using his control pole to scare off the dogs he managed to free the lady who lay on the ground severely injured with the bone in her arm exposed and open wounds that were bleeding profusely. The dogs ran back to their home and their owner arrived at the scene. Field Officer Philani knew that the lady needed to be taken to a hospital immediately, he asked the owner of the dogs to take her.
Field Officer Philani then gently picked the injured lady up off the ground and carried her to the dogs owners’ car who then drove her to RK Khan Hospital. Field Officer Philani and Field Officer Eric Simamane returned to the property later that day to collect the dogs that had attacked the lady and the decision was made to humanly euthanase them and their bodies were sent to State Vet for Rabies testing.
On 7 March 2022 we received results from the State Vet that 1 of the dogs had tested positive for Rabies. Field Officer Philani had asked the lady for her cellphone number when he was helping her, but she explained she had no cellphone, was unemployed and lived alone, she was in the area looking for work. The Kloof and Highway SPCA contacted RK Khan Hospital, who had referred the lady to Albert Luthuli Hospital where she received treatment for rabies. When visiting the hospital, Field Officer Philani immediately recognised his new friend in the ward and learned her name was Ntombizonke and her daughter Soneni was also visiting.
We learned that her daughter Soneni had been searching for her and had only found her mother in hospital a week after her attack! Ntombizonke cried as she spoke to Field Officer Philani thanking him for saving her life, her daughter sobbed quietly while being comforted by Barbara. Ntombizonke has had surgery on her arm and will need another surgery with a skin graft but we are happy she is receiving the best care in hospital and she will be opening a case with SAPS once she is a bit stronger.
Whilst we are grateful that Field Officer Philani saved Ntombizonke, we cannot help think about the far-reaching consequences of the Rabid dog, who else it could have been in contact with, bitten and infected had we not taken action. Our Inspectors are there 24/7 preventing cruelty to animals, saving and rescuing animals and in this case, saving a lady’s life too! Your support and donations ensure that our vehicles and Inspectorate team are able to respond to emergencies and rescues 24/7.
In another incident on Monday 4 April 2022, our Inspectorate department received a call to collect a stray dog from the Westville area.
The owner of the home had noticed the dog lying by her gate so she opened the gate and he entered the property and made himself comfortable in their garage.
Fortunately, the owner made sure that the dog was isolated from her animals and she never handled it. Field Officer Philani Nzama immediately went and collected the scared dog and brought it into our Kloof and Highway SPCA . On arrival the dog, which was a stray, had the checks that all animals entering our SPCA have, of being scanned for a microchip and then inoculated as no inoculation history was known. The reception staff then checked for a lost report and notified the kennel staff that they did not have a lost report on record for this dog. The dog was admitted to our stray kennels, and we hoped that his owner would claim him soon.
On Wednesday morning, 6 April 2022, while Inspector Tania Ungerer was doing her morning kennel round she noticed that the dog was exhibiting some strange behaviour that it had not shown the previous day. The dog was skittish to the slightest noise, object and even to the leaves in his kennel.
All this was confirmed by Petros Ntuli an experienced animal handler. The dog was displaying very strange neurological issues. The difficult, but responsible decision was made to humanely euthanise the dog and the body was immediately sent off to the State Vet for Rabies testing.
On Friday, 8 April 2022 we received a result which confirmed our worst fears, the dog was positive for Rabies! This dog that had appeared to be completely normal the day before, this dog that had eaten and was drinking water, was positive. To our experienced staff who are vigilant they prevented many tragic scenarios that could have unfolded. Rabies kills and thankfully our staff are vaccinated.
The Kloof and Highway SPCA are urging members of public to make sure their pets are vaccinated against Rabies as well as exercise caution when approaching stray animals. If you find a stray animal you are not familiar with, only approach if it is safe to do so and absolutely necessary. In the event of being bitten or scratched immediately wash the area very well and flush under running water and immediately seek medical attention. If you are bitten or scratched by and animal with no proof of vaccination you will be required to go for a costly course of Rabies.