Friday 12 May 2023


CASES of animal cruelty and neglect are always likely to stir emotions.

A 28-year-old man from Dobi Village  in Matopo, Matabeleland South province was  arrested for abandoning his sick donkey on the side of the road to recover all alone, in a case a local animal rights organisation  described as “absolutely heartless”.

The case could, however, set a precedent for when and how animals and advocacy organisations can bring cases before the court to help end animal suffering.

Justin Maphosa has since appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Maxwell charged with a crime of abandoning an injured animal as defined in Section 3 (1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act Chapter 9:09.

He was not asked to plead and was remanded out of custody to 12 May on $20 000.

Allegations against Maphosa are that between the period 23 April and 27 April   he abandoned his injured donkey on the side of the road to recover all alone.

His callous acts were reportedly discovered by the director of Matabeleland Animal Rescue and Equine Sanctuary (MARES) Claire Einhorn Julie (59) following a tip-off from concerned villagers.

Claire reported the matter to the police and investigations led to the arrest of Maphosa.

The rescued donkey is receiving treatment at MARES.

MARES in partnership with a United Kingdom-based organisation — Society for the Protection of Animals (SPANA) once embarked on campaigns in Matabeleland provinces in a bid to change people’s perceptions and teach them how to care for their animals and the correct way of fitting harness without hurting them.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe recently joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Donkey Day on 8 May.

The day is dedicated to recognising the donkey and bringing attention to its amazing characteristics.

All around the world, this animal has served as a beast of burden and mount. It has survived and thrived even in areas with harsh climates and tough terrains.

World Donkey Day was created by Ark Raziq, a scientist whose focus is on desert animals. He realised that the hardworking donkey wasn’t being recognised for its efforts in building our society.

He started creating a Facebook group talking about the animal. In 2018, World Donkey Day was officially set up and it’s been celebrated every year since. Its purpose is to spread information about donkeys and how they impact human lives. B Metro


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