My eyes open in the morning light and rest on the pillow next to me. There lies my companion and partner, Perdita. She is a wire-haired dachshund who is now about ten years old. Like everything she will die. I abhor the fact that one day we will be separated. But I believe Perdita lives a blissful, happy and contented life and will continue to do so into her twilight years.
This is not the case for the eThekwini Metro Police dogs in Durban!
Butch had spent the ten years of his life working for the police force. His handler gave Butch’s head a friendly roll between his ears. “Yer too old to continue working here, my boy, but I want to take you home to live with me. You’d like that wouldn’t you?” The German Shepherd’s tail wagged his agreement.
They had not bargained for the despicable auspices of the Metro Police Logistics Head, Innocent Chamane.
He stated that “old police dogs should be euthanized at the end of their useful working life. There is no point in getting emotional about it.”
In other words, once a dog has passed it’s ‘sell by’ date, it must be disposed of! Unlike the SAPS units, the Metro unit refuses to allow handlers to take dogs home to live out their retirement after it has fought crime day and night for a decade.
“Knowing that the dog one has raised, trained, worked with, and which has probably saved one’s life, will be thrown aside like a piece of rubbish when it is considered old – between eight and ten, has destroyed morale and has top crime fighters brought to their knees,” said South African politician, Dianne Kohler Barnard.
The ‘goings on’ at the eThekwini Metro Dog Unit are appalling. Apart from Innocents horrifying directive it seems that the unit is plagued by shortages. Handlers are having to buy dogs food and shampoo from their own pockets.
“The issue of the shampoo may seem innocuous, but this is something that is vital in looking after our dogs and we have not had any supplied by the Metro Police in over a year,” reported a policeman. “The guys have got their own shampoo, but why should it come to this? We love our dogs and so we make sure it gets done, but it is highly unfair,” he said. “Some of the younger dogs are eating food that is meant for adult dogs because they refuse to order puppy food. They are meant to be fed the correct, nutritional dog food so that they may develop properly and see out their tenure as working dogs. The system is broken at the Metro Police.”
A large proportion of the dogs have not been inoculated because of outstanding vet bills.
“The vets now refuse to treat the dogs so they in turn cannot work. I don’t know how it is possible for a metro the size of eThekwini to become classified as bad payers and let bills go unpaid like this for so long,” another source added.
These comments were recently published in an article. As a result, a charity, Feeding the Furballs attempted to make a donation of all that was necessary to keep eThekwini Metro Police canines fit and healthy. They arrived at the police dog kennels with more than R15 000 in food, shampoo, de-worming tablets and other dog treats. Instead of being greeted with thanks and hospitality, their reception was chilly. They and their much needed gifts were turned away.
“We were trying to find someone to donate the food to and then a guy came out and told us to leave the premises. He said that Innocent Charmane, the boss, was coming and they have been ordered not to accept anything from the public. The gentleman said that everything in the media was a lie.”
A lie, I ask with incredulity? Why would the dog handlers be untruthful about something like this? What have they got to gain???
Instead of living the remainder of his life in comfort as his handler had wanted, Butch was put into the concrete confines of the SPCA and shortly afterwards put to sleep. Actually “put to sleep” is too nice a phrase for what actually happened to Butch. He was murdered!
In the light of all the furore, a spokeswoman for the eThekwini Metro Dog Unit is now claiming that Butch had hip dysplasia. The handler didn’t appear to be concerned. This condition is treatable! What if all humans with hip problems were simply put to death???
Why are old dogs not treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve? When humans are ready to stop work and retire, it’s a time of celebration. Often a party at work is held, gifts are given and they are sent off with a warm pat on the back to enjoy their final years as they wish. They are certainly not imprisoned in a cell and then slaughtered once they have reached three score years and ten!
It is appalling that man’s ‘best friend’ is allowed to be treated in this barbaric fashion by Innocent Chamane!
As a human, I am ashamed.