News | South Africa | Crime
Reports of bestiality have increased under lockdown, according to National Council of SPCA special investigations unit manager Wendy Wilson.
This could be because more people are forced to stay home, and consequently observe and report more of these incidents, Wilson said.
An elderly man recently had his bail denied after being accused of sexually assaulting a dog in North West.
The man was arrested by Mareetsane police after the community flagged the latest in a suspected string of bestiality attacks. After being contacted by the police, the NSPCA’s special investigations unit offered guidance in the investigation, and dispatched a national inspector to rescue the dog. This also allowed for scene evidence and sample collections to be done thoroughly.
Wilson said that although it was not yet known if the dog he allegedly attacked was a repeated victim, it is alleged that the man had performed bestiality on multiple animal species.
The case in question involves a young female cross-breed dog that the SPCA has since named Liquorice.
Wilson said Liquorice was currently under the observation of a behaviourist and a veterinarian, but she was a forgiving, good-natured animal.
“She’s managed to survive and is not aggressive. She is the most amazing dog, and so forgiving. She is not going to hold a grudge, and will march forward into her new future. She has already won everyone over, and we hope to get her a great home.”
According to Wilson, the process of adopting an animal that has endured such a traumatic ordeal involves her future owners understanding victimology, and picking an ideal home that will support her physically and mentally, to bring out the best in her.
“I think she’s going to be fine, she’s just one of those special dogs that goes through the worst and still smiles into the future,” said Wilson.
But she lamented that Liquorice’s rescuers had reason to believe this was not the first time she was attacked by the man currently in custody.
Wilson explained that bestiality is often correlated to other sexual offences.
Although many aggravating factors are involved in determining the profile of a person susceptible to committing these types of crimes, people with low social skills are often prone to committing bestiality.
“This is because a sexual interaction with an animal negates the need for negotiation, so you don’t need social skills. This is where the potential abuse of young or elderly people comes in, because they too can’t call for help,” said Wilson.
She also said that, sadly, in South Africa bestiality is more common than people think, partly because it is such a taboo topic that people don’t talk about it. However, this puts more people and animals at risk, even more so because these offences are never a once-off.
“Bestiality points to something much more sinister,” she said.
Wilson was not able to disclose the age of the elderly man, but said that in the case of youngsters being involved in acts of bestiality, this not only had a sexual connotation, but also potentially pointed to them being victims of abuse. And as this cycle continued, more people, especially vulnerable community members, as well as animals, were at risk of becoming victims.
“The whole cycle of any sexual abuse with animals implies a wider range of things that could be going on,” Wilson warned.
This latest incident prompted the NSPCA to once again emphasise the need for communities to give bestiality a voice, to break the toxic cycle.
“Bestiality is rarely a standalone sexual crime. The link between the sexual abuse of animals and human cruelty is real and important, and the NSPCA encourages communities to give this sexual crime a voice.”
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