Dog Rescued After Being Buried Alive

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In one of the worst ever reported cases of animal abuse in Cape Town a dog has been rescued after being buried alive in a pit at a Khayelitsha School.

Update (10-31-11)  Just one week after reporting this incident, the school worker who did so was fired. According to the Cape Times: Bukelwa Mbulawa said she took the day off a week after Warrior was saved because she was ill, and when she returned last Friday she found out that she has been fired.

“Colleagues told me the principal called a meeting with the cleaners on Thursday when I was off. They told me he said he knew “everything” and that I was the one who called IFAW and took pictures at the scene. He ordered my colleagues to tell me not to return to work on Friday as I no longer have a job,” Mbulawa said as she broke down in tears.

Mbulawa said she was her family’s breadwinner and has two sons, one of whom is a Luhlaza Secondary pupil.

“I am the only person who earns a salary in my house. Before I worked, I used to go from door to door to beg for food and clothes and until I can find another job, I’ll have to do the same again. Saving Warrior’s life cost me my job, but I do not regret it. It was the right thing to do. I just don’t see why I have to take the blame on my own. We decided as a group that we were going to let the animal welfare know what was happening. The principal could have at least spoken to me to find out my side of the story.”

Makhaphela denied that Mbulawa’s dismissal was connected to Warrior being saved. “The school simply does not have the funds to pay her salary and for this reason we had to let her go. There is no connection. People are just spreading rumours,” he said.
-end update

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha received an anonymous tip-off at 8:30 Thursday morning to say that janitors at the Luhlaza Secondary School had been spotted digging a hole on the perimeter of the school sports field, and then burying a live dog in it.

Veterinarian Dr Edson Man’Ombe and animal welfare carer Lazola Sotyingwa, immediately rushed to the school and apprehended two janitors on the school field. The men initially claimed the dog was dead, but on further questioning admitted the animal was still alive when they buried it – they said one of the school’s senior supervisors had told them to get rid of the dog as it was causing a nuisance by hanging around the school’s classrooms.

Man’Ombe and Sotyingwa then instructed the men to open the pit, and the dog, a dalmation-type cross breed, was found barely alive at the bottom of a hole between one and 1,5-metres deep. It was rushed to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic and is now in the care of professional veterinarians. The dog is also partially disabled probably as a result of earlier injuries from a motor vehicle accident.

Mdzananda, which is the only full-time on site veterinary facility in Khayelitsha, is a project of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW- www.ifaw.org).

“This story is tragic and, as awful as this story is, without access to animal welfare these are the kinds of desperate measures people resort to when they have nowhere to turn for help,” said Jane Levinson, clinic coordinator at Mdzananda. “We need more animal welfare support and humane education initiatives in our townships and schools.”

“None of this excuses the decision of a senior, and presumably educated and intelligent supervisor, to instruct his juniors to dispose of a problem dog in such a cruel fashion,” she said. “We can only hope that none of the learners at the school were exposed to this horrific event.”

The names of the janitors and that of the supervisor who allegedly gave the instruction to them to dispose of the dog are known to Mdzananda and a case has been opened at the Lingelethu Police Station in Khayelitsha.

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About Mdzananda Animal Clinic
Mdzananda Animal Clinic was founded in 1996. It provides the only permanent, on site animal welfare support to Khayelitsha outside Cape Town, and provides primary veterinary healthcare to dogs and cats in the community. For more information visit www.mdzananda.co.za.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org.

14 thoughts on “Dog Rescued After Being Buried Alive”

  1. The article clearly states that Mdzananda Animal Clinic is in Khayelitsha, so why would the supervisor or his two janitors do such a horrendous thing when they could have called the clinic.

    There is no excuse for such horrific animal cruelty. This poor dog probably hung around the school because it liked the children and had no where else to go. Is this how a friendly, lonely and abandoned dog is treated? If I was a parent, I would be outraged at what sort of people were in charge of my children at this school if they could make such a cruel decision against a poor defenseless dog without any compassion at all!

    I agree that that the community needs more animal welfare support and humane education initiatives in their townships and schools but these individuals are the very people responsible for education and outreach so how could the community possibly make any progress on educating the public if those in charge are this heartless?

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    • Animal abuse leads to child abuse….. remove these janitors from the school immediately!

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  2. Poor thing, I was clearly disgusted at the thought of this cruelty for this defensive animal. It’s just so hard to fathom this kind of behavior of these two janitors. I can’t believe this animal was still alive. How horrible!

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  3. It is frightening to think that such a cruel man is in charge of a school since the ties between animal abuse and people abuse are well documented. The only positive thing to come from this horrible event is that now the neglected dog will receive the love and care it deserves. God bless the people at the veterinary clinic and the IFAW!

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  4. If the two janitors thought nothing of burying a dog alive without even the dignity of killing it first, how on earth can you “educate” them to respect all living beings, animals or humans. They did not question their employer nor did they act in a humane way. All three should be severely punished – but they won’t because no doubt they come from “deprived homes”…. Fingers crossed that the poor dog has a good life now.

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