That dreaded time of the year – no, not Christmas time (yet)

I bet that if you tapped someone on the shoulder and asked why we celebrate Guy Fawkes Day or Night, they would not be able to give the actual reason. According to Wikipedia, it started way back in 1605. The people of London, celebrated the fact that King James I survived an attempt on his life – by the Gunpowder Plot – by lighting bonfires. The person arrested as part of this Gunpowder Plot was Guy Fawkes.

So now, many years later, after having been carried across the sea by the settlers and contorted into a money-making and noise-making affair, it is still observed by many. Do we really need to? Should this antiquated and so far-removed from our South African history observance still take place? Here are some of the reasons why I believe we should stop it:

  • Not a part of our SA history. It was brought here by the colonists. Maybe the #feesmustfall and #decoloniseSA people should take note of this!
  • Despite the designated areas, fireworks are still being set off in residential areas – which is illegal https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/FireAndRescue/Pages/Fireworkscelebrations.aspx
  • Animals have a much more keen sense of hearing than we do. What – to us – may sound like a dull thud far off probably makes an animal think it’s in a war zone. Remember, they are not aware of the rituals we humans make use of, so this comes out of the blue for them. Also, consider the wild animals, not just our pets.
  • People are literally taking their money and lighting it on fire! In our current economic crisis with Pravin’s imminent arrest and all the other melodrama our government has landed us in, is this really what people want to do?
  • It has the potential to be quite dangerous.
  • Think of all that litter from burst fireworks flying around, causing blocked drains, dirty beaches etc.

I urge you to speak to the people you know and make them see how senseless this observance is. Remind them that discharge of fireworks outside a designated area is punishable by law.

 

Useful numbers to call:

Illegal sale or use of fireworks: Metro Police 0860765423 or SAPS 10111

Reporting a fire: 107 or 021 480 7700

SPCA Inspectorate for distressed animals: 083 326 1604

More info on designated sites (Sunrise Beach is NOT a designated site this year!) http://ewn.co.za/2016/10/24/Cape-officials-approve-designated-sites-for-discharge-of-fireworks

What is the opposite of Law Enforcement?

 

On 13 August, my husband decided to take a different route home after taking my step daughter to her ballet class. It was while we were driving down Sunrise Boulevard, which we don’t normally use, that we saw a man walking in the rain, holding up a puppy for people to see. This man was clearly selling this puppy. My husband must have groaned inwardly, thinking “Here we go again…”.

I love animals, I love them more than I love humans. I will stand up for any injustice I see and I am like – excuse the pun – a dog with a bone when I want justice.

So, I made him turn around and confront the guy, who said he wasn’t selling the puppy, but that he just wanted a R50. My blood boiled. R50 for this living being who felt pain, and who was probably freezing. I immediately called Law Enforcement, because up until that moment I was an upstanding citizen who abides by the law.

Did you know that it is illegal to confiscate a puppy from a person who is also illegally trying to sell said puppy?

I stressed to the person on the line that they’d have to send someone quickly, as this man was now aware we were onto him. Hah, the wasted breath!

It was about 15 minutes later that I found this guy again, at the Capricorn Square Shopping centre, still walking around with the pup, soaking wet, but quiet in the face of this injustice done to him. After calling the SPCA inspectorate, he disappeared and by the time I flagged a cop down, he was gone. By the way, thank you to that cop who sped out of the McDonald’s parking lot, leaving his partner in the store, to follow me.

There was another metro cop who stopped me and heard my story gave me an “Oh, it’s just a dog” look.

Law enforcement? Cue that night-time cricket sound… nowhere to be seen! (Note: LE offices are a 3min drive from where I initially spotted the puppy seller!)

Because I had bothered a SPCA inspector months ago about just this type of issue, I contacted him again. He then forwarded my email to some Law Enforcement guys who never responded.

What do I want from this?

  1. Law enforcement needs to be held accountable for this: my call went unanswered, so did my and Inspector Moyo’s emails. Ok, someone replied but such a listless reply, my word! See in gallery, email 8. 
  2. An inclusive programme which prevents illegal selling of animals. A partnership between SPCA, LE, SAPS and the interested public, maybe?
  3. For all to know that should I see someone selling an animal again, I will take matters into my own hands, because clearly nobody else cares.

Screenshots of emails in gallery below

Thanks to Inspector Moyo of the SPCA, TEARS and AID for Animals in Distress (who responded to the second incident), and the cop who helped me at Capricorn Square. Also, thanks to the City of Cape Town twitter account (@CityofCT) that asked me to DM the problem – not enough characters on Twitter for this story 🙂