Two men accused of burying a dog alive at a Khayelitsha school, in what has been described as “one of the worst reported cases of animal abuse in Cape Town”, made a brief appearance in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Pato Elliot Mfengu and Mkhumbuzi Ncedana, charged with animal cruelty, allegedly buried alive the partially disabled dog, named Warrior, at the Luhlaza Secondary High School in October.
Mfengu and Ncedana were janitors at the high school.
The incident made headlines around the world, sparking outrage from animal rights organisations here.
The two arrived separately at the court yesterday for their second appearance. Only when they spotted the large media contingent did they cover their faces and rush inside.
Two men stood outside bearing a banner protesting against cruelty to animals.
Mfengu and Ncedana asked that the case be postponed to give them time to appoint their own private legal representatives.
The request was granted and the case postponed to January 27.
Jane Levinson, project manager for the Mdzananda Animal Clinic where Warrior was taken to recover from its ordeal, said she was disappointed at the postponement.
“We would have liked the trial to continue was soon as possible, but we will have to wait patiently for the next court date and the speedy conclusion of the case.”
The suspects claim they were ordered by a supervisor to get rid of the dog because it was being a nuisance, hanging around the classrooms.
A woman spotted the pair as they were digging the hole, reporting them to the clinic, which sent out two staffers to investigate. The janitors told them the dog was dead, but they insisted on opening the hole. The dog was found at the bottom, barely alive.
Warrior has since been adopted by Cape Argus columnist Helen Walne, and is undergoing rehabilitation for spinal injuries which caused his partial disability.
He was, however, present during the janitors’ first court appearance in November, 2011