Anti Animal Trafficking (AAT) was formalised in the latter part of 2017 and officially registered as a Non-Profit Organisation (227-971) on the 5th of May 2019. AAT not only rescues animals from illegal, abusive and neglectful street sellers in the Western Cape of South Africa, but also attempts to get as many of the sellers processed through the Justice Department in terms of the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962 (as amended). AAT is changing the way our local authorities view crimes against animals within the Western Cape, with the intention of this becoming the norm in the rest of South Africa.
One Animal Abuser at A Time
It’s through our perseverance in rescuing animals from people selling them on the streets and bringing these sellers to book that AAT is slowly starting to see many officers in Law Enforcement, South African Police Services (SAPS), and those working in the Prosecutor’s Office change their attitudes towards the seriousness of animal abuse.
Since our initial informal inception in January 2018, AAT has successfully rescued 111 animals (103 x pups or adult dogs; 7 x kittens; 1 x rabbit) from 201 Call2Actions, resulting in a 55% success rate to date.
In 2018, we rescued 16 animals from 48 incidents of attempting to sell, resulting in a 33% success rate. Of the 16 animals rescued in 2018, eight were from a notorious animal seller who’d been “plying his trade” since about 2010, without any recourse or justice for the animals he was exploiting.
In 2019, we rescued 92 animals from 151 Call2Actions, resulting in a 61% success rate for the year to date! Only three of these were rescued from the notorious animal seller, who was successfully put behind bars in February 2019 (for the fourth time since February 2018), but this time bail was denied and he’s currently standing trial.
So far in 2020, we’ve rescued three animals from two Call2Actions. The decrease in Call2Actions may be attributed to many factors: one of them being that members of the public are not reporting incidents and are taking matters into their own hands by removing animals from sellers. This is concerning in itself, as the demand is enabling sellers to ply their trade of exploiting animals for self-benefit and gain.
To date, AAT has successfully opened 11 cases in terms of the Animal Protection Act for animal abuse and/or neglect of young animals at the hands of the sellers (four of these cases are against the notorious seller). All of these cases are either pending further investigation by SAPS or are currently being dealt with via trial in the Magistrate’s Court.
Our statistics have highlighted that this crime against young animals is rife and on the rise in the central business districts and suburbs of Cape Town. We rely heavily on the general public to report incidents of people attempting to sell animals on the streets to enable us to take the necessary action. Also, their co-operation in assisting us in opening cases at SAPS is critical. If we don’t do this, then the SAPS’ statistics of animal abuse in this country are incorrect, which, in turn, does nothing to aid AAT in helping more animals through the work that we do, nor will it assist in changing the laws protecting animals.
How can you help?
If you spot someone with a tiny animal, and it seems suspicious, approach them in a friendly manner and enquire about the animal (So cute! How old? Where’s it from?). Voice- or video-record the conversation if possible. NEVER ASK IF THEY ARE SELLING! Once the offer to sell is made, ask if you can take photos for your friend/husband/mother, etc. to see if they’re interested in buying as you don’t have cash on you. Then contact AAT immediately on 072 667 9670 or 081 215 2810, explaining that there’s someone who’s selling a cute puppy/kitten, etc. Thereafter, send photos, videos, voice recordings and the location pin to both numbers, and AAT will action accordingly. Most importantly, though, we’ll need you to stall the seller until help arrives, so it’s critical for the person reporting to KEEP EYES ON! We’ll take care of the rest when we arrive!