Spotlight South Africa: Turning the tables toward good news for animals

A picture of Jack just before he passed on.It’s a reality of life that we are often times confronted by more bad news than good, be it via television, radio or the web.  This bad news is often manifested in the inhumane treatment of and cruelty to animals witnessed by individuals working in the animal welfare arena, one of those individuals being Cora Bailey, Director of Community Led Animal Welfare in Johannesburg, a project of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.  

For Cora and her team it’s hard to think that there is anything that could surprise them anymore, when it comes to the deliberate infliction of pain upon an animal, but one case in point did. 

The case to which I am referring is the rescue of a pet Jack Russell terrier named “Jack” who was left lying in the driveway of his owners’ home for at least 24 hours after its leg had been ripped off at the hip, his owner deliberately ignoring his cries for help.

Cora has herself confessed that no words exist to describe the hell that Jack must have gone through while his owner, the person he would have trusted and relied on the most, simply stepped past him as he lay helpless and tortured in pain.

Little Jack was eventually humanely euthanased to relieve his suffering and this week in Johannesburg, his owner was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for five years after pleading guilty to animal cruelty.  

She is also banned from ever owning an animal again.

Although the sentence is a victory and a salute to animal welfare efforts undertaken by individuals and organizations such as Cora and her team, we must never forget the thousands of other “Jacks” out there who may also be suffering from cruelty and neglect. 

Yes, it may not necessarily be to the same extent and not necessarily be deliberately inflicted but it is a reality.

Thanks to Cora and her team who continually turn the tables to try to have the good news overshadow the bad, there is still hope.

Jack’s good news arrived on the day Cora scooped him gently up into her arms, his pain close to ending.


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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters