A boerboel cross-breed, renamed, Lizzy, was confiscated from a man who tried to sell it in Monte Vista on Wednesday January 25, following complaints from passers-by who contacted an animal welfare organisation.
A scuffle ensued between the puppy seller, well-known for dressing up as a woman while begging at the Monte Vista off-ramp, and the women who went to rescue the puppy.
African Tails general manager Veronica Nel said they had found the puppy tired and heaving, covered in oil and dehydrated after a member of the public alerted them to its plight.
The seller also changed his story when asked where he got the puppy, telling Ms Nel it was his puppy, then saying he got it under the bridge at Monte Vista.
She said they had tried to convince the seller to hand over the dog, but the man took a punch at her and a colleague and tried to flee with the puppy he was selling for R300.
They were helped by District Watch officers who arrived during the commotion.
District Watch’s Gawie Venter confirmed two of their patrol vehicles had been at the scene.
He said people trying to sell puppies would be held until the police or City law enforcement arrived to complete the arrest.
African Tails has urged the public not to buy puppies on the roadside because those selling them are breaking the law and should be reported to law enforcement or animal welfare organisations.
Ms Nel said residents often felt sorry and bought the animals out of fear for the creatures’ well-being, but that only made the problem worse.
“It creates a market and leads to them stealing puppies,” Ms Nel said.
She thanked people who called for help and District Watch for intervening.
“It has become time that we take a stronger stance against animal abuse,” African Tails said in a statement.
Tara McGovern, of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, said there had been a spike in complaints about roadside sales of puppies, and the sellers appeared to be part of a syndicate.
“We have apprehended the same seller with puppies from different litters at various locations in the Cape metropole. We have also heard that the number of puppy sellers in the Stellenbosch area is on the increase – especially in the vicinity of Stellenbosch CBD.”
The roadside sales, she said, contravened the Animal By-law, governing breeding and the keeping of animals, as well as the Animals Protection Act, regulating the rights of animals.
Ms McGovern said sellers had been fined and puppies confiscated, and one repeat offender’s prosecution was “imminent”. She said puppies should be with their mothers for at least eight weeks or longer.
African Tails found a foster home for Lizzy.