Pretoria man arrested for killing lions, rhino illegally

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pretoria - A man has been arrested on suspicion of allegedly killing animals on a residential premises in Pretoria's wealthy suburb of Waterkloof, without the correct authority to do so.

It was discovered that ten skulls found on the premises belonged to lions and rhinos.

The man was arrested on Tuesday by Brooklyn police and will appear in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality's Community Safety Department's spokesperson, Console Tleane said the SPCA had contacted the By-Law Enforcement Centre on Tuesday to report that there might be illegal animal killings taking place at the residence.

In terms of the city's by-law on the keeping of animals, birds and poultry and businesses involving the keeping of animals, poultry and pets, officers were immediately dispatched to the home

Upon arrival at the house, they were met with a lot of animal bones lying around on the premises.

Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality's Agriculture and Environment Management officials have determined that the bones that were found on the premises belonged to lions and rhinos.

"The national Department of Environment and Tourism Affairs' Green Scorpions and the SAPS Crime Intelligence Unit were called to the scene so that they could take the case forward," said Mr Tleane.

If found guilty, the man could face a two-year prison sentence or a R20 00 fine. "This could also depend on the magistrate if more charges are added," he said, adding that it was not yet known where the man got the animals, how long he had been doing it or who his partners were.

"It is part of the investigation," Mr Tleane said.

One of the general provisions of the by-law reads in part: "A person is guilty of an offence if he or she slaughters an animal for any reason whatsoever (excluding slaughtering for own use and ritual slaughtering) in a residential area without the prior consent of the Chief of Police, the environmental health practitioner and any officer concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals."

The Department's Strategic Executive Director, Commissioner Mpho Mmutle, commended the Metro Police officers and the city's Agriculture and Environment Management officials for their good work.

"This is a demonstration that the approach adopted for a by-law enforcement centre is critical in the fight against certain categories of crime," said Commissioner Mmutle.

The City of Tshwane's By-Law Enforcement Centre was opened on October 01 2008. Its function is to ensure that the city's by-laws are enforced.

While falling under the auspices of the Community Safety Department it comprises officials from other departments within the city that have by-law enforcement mandates. These include city planning, environment management, health, and roads and storm water.