WARNING: This post contains content that may upset some readers.
The man responsible for the death of two dachshunds after he left them in a hot car for days was found guilty and sentenced two years after the horrific incident.
The Animal Protection Society (SPBA) in Bloemfontein says Marco Terblanche recently appeared in court where he was found guilty of five charges of animal cruelty. He was also declared unfit “to own or be in charge of any animal for the remainder of his natural life”.
He will be under correctional supervision for the next 36 months, and must do more than 300 hours of community service at the SPCA in Bloemfontein.
The court also imposed a six-month suspended sentence on Terblanche on the condition that he comply with all aspects related to correctional supervision.
“The SPCA in Bloemfontein is delighted that justice has been done for these tortured dachshunds,” says Werner Botha, an inspector attached to the SPCA in Bloemfontein.
Botha was summoned to the Bloemfontein public library on 15 October 2021 after rumors that dogs were trapped in a car nearby.
The window of the car was broken when Botha arrived, but the two dachshunds were already dead. A post-mortem examination of the dogs found that both had died of “severe dehydration and sunstroke”.
During the course of the investigation, it came to light that the dogs had been trapped in the car for five days before they were found. The temperatures varied between 30 °C and 35 °C during the time the dogs were trapped.
“The owner, Marco Terblanche, left the dogs in his car on a Sunday after he had consumed a lot of drink and got drunk. In his drunkenness, he forgot where he parked his car and the dogs were found dead in the car days later,” says Botha.
At the time, Botha brought the case against Terblanche.
“I still clearly remember the scratch marks on the windows from how the dachshunds tried to escape,” he says.
“The dogs also tried to escape from the heat and sunlight by hiding behind a television set and a portrait that was in the car.
“I can’t think of a crueler way to die than being trapped in a hot car without food or water with no way to escape.”
Verdict a ‘victory’
Botha says he is grateful for the strict sentence in connection with Terblanche’s ability to own any kind of animal in the future.
“This sentence is a great victory for animal welfare legislation in South Africa,” he says.
“This is often not granted in animal cruelty cases, but it now sets a precedent that will guide the judiciary in the future to sentence offenders,” he says.
Botha hopes that the community service, which must be done at the SPCA in Bloemfontein, will also show Terblanche how animals should be cared for.
“I hope that his work with the animals will show Terblanche the consequences of his actions and that his character will be improved through the hard work.”