Accusations fly in Ballito kennel dispute

A complaint that a local kennels unfairly handed a pair of dogs over to the SPCA – who then threatened to euthanise them – has proved to be the tip of an iceberg whose underside does not reflect well on the complainants.

Denise Govender contacted the Courier complaining about a terrible experience she had with Ballito Kennels and the local SPCA.

Govender said she and her husband Andrew had fallen on hard times recently and, while looking for a new dogfriendly home, needed to place their two Shar-Peis with a kennel.

“It was originally supposed to be a week at most but we were struggling to find a place for ourselves, so it went into three weeks,” said Govender.

Govender said they spoke to the kennels about a payment plan so the amount owed would not accumulate, which was refused. This apparently “went on for weeks.”

“They then said they will be handing the dogs over to the SPCA and tell them that we abandoned them.”

Govender said the dogs where taken to the SPCA and when she contacted Debbie Filmater, the local SPCA inspector, she was “very rude and arrogant” and had apparently sent them a message saying the dogs would be put down if they do not pay their bills and collect the dogs.

However, Ballito Kennels – on the R102 in the Compensation area – and the SPCA tell a very different story.

The Courier is in possession of full and complete records of the dealings between the Govenders and the kennels. Employees from Ballito Kennels attempted literally dozens of times to get hold of the Govenders over a period of weeks, calls and messages which the family either did not respond to or actively dodged.

The dogs were left at the kennels for what was supposed to be a weekend and never fetched, and with nobody responding to messages it is unsurprising that they began to wonder if the dogs had been abandoned.

Ballito Kennels’ Jax Dyer-Donaldson explained that the reason they could not keep the dogs was not due to the duration of time.

“It was due to the fact that they had not paid their bill. As per our terms and conditions on our application form, which Mr Govender signed when he brought his dogs on July 1, all long-term boarders have to pay in advance. Mr Govender only booked his dogs in for two days initially, hence we did not request an advance payment for the months of July and August.”

Ballito Kennels – and later the SPCA – tried multiple times in vain to get the Govenders to pay, to collect their dogs, or even just to take their calls so they could find out what was happening with the family’s pets.

When they could make contact, promises flowed like a river regarding payment and when they would come collect their dogs.

None of these promises were kept.

Meanwhile, once the dogs had been handed over to the SPCA, policy states that if they have not been claimed withing seven days they are considered to be abandoned and become the property of the SPCA.

“Policy also states that if an owner attempts to claim their dog after seven days they will adopt the dog just as any other member of the public would,” said Lindsey Concer of the Durban and Coast SPCA.

“The Govender’s dogs were not suitable for the adoption programme due to their aggressive behaviour.”

This, said Concer, was why the Govenders were warned that the dogs may have to be euthanised.

However, the SPCA did not euthanise the dogs, keeping them for a further seven days above and beyond the required time before they were finally fetched by their owners, a full two and a half months after what was supposed to be two days in the kennels.

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Allan Troskie

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