NSPCA slams ‘slap on the wrist’ sentence for Dr convicted of amputating monkey’s limbs
Don Pinnock
18th December 2020

The light sentence handed out to the vet who mutilated a monkey is a travesty of justice says the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).

In what amounts to a light slap on the wrist, Gauteng vet Dr Elfreda Alberts was given a fine of R10 750 suspended for three years for animal cruelty having amputated three legs of a vervet monkey and made an unexplained incision in its abdomen.

The NSPCA is outraged by the token sentence, saying Alberts was a professional who was supposed to ensure the animal’s welfare was paramount. It’s now up to the South African Veterinary Council to decide the future of Alberts as a vet.

For eight years since the monkey was confiscated and euthanised to end it’s suffering it did nothing, saying it was constrained by the pending court case.

Its CEO, Mongezi Menye, said the matter, following the sentencing, was “still under investigation. Due to the confidential nature of the matters that the SAVC is handling, I am not in a position to divulge more information.”

However, he declined to advise when the investigation would be concluded or whether the SAVC has even decided to call Alberts to a formal hearing as it is empowered to do.

The president of the SA Veterinary Association, Leon de Bruyn, said: “SAVA is shocked by the allegations of animal cruelty by Dr Alberts.”

The vet is not a member of the association, he said, but encouraged the SAVC to “conclude their investigation as soon as possible so justice can be served”.

There is growing public demand for the SAVC to hold Alberts to account. Extensive input on social media, including the NSPCA Facebook page, has called for Alberts’ professional registration to practice to be cancelled.

Over eight years ago, the NSPCA confiscated the severely maimed and injured monkey in the bedroom of Alberts. The female monkey was found to be dragging herself around on her remaining forearm as her other limbs had been amputated and she had a deep incision on her abdomen. The NSPCA had the monkey euthanised, laid charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act and informed the South African Veterinary Council.

The investigation was first delayed by the police, then the prosecutor at Nigel court declined to prosecute as did the Control prosecutor.

The Association then appealed to the National Prosecuting Authority which agreed that there was merit to the charges and reinstated the case. There followed several delays because either the vet, Dr Elfreda Alberts, or her attorney claimed illness.

Finally Alberts was found guilty on all three counts the Nigel Magistrate’s Court 4 March 2020 and sentencing was handed down on the 25th November.

The vet was fined R5 000 or three months imprisonment suspended for three years on two counts and R750 or 30 days imprisonment suspended for three years. Her application for acquittal was denied.

The NSPCA says it is deeply troubled by the sentence. It said the heinous nature of the crime ought to have been reflected in the sentence to deter others.

Original article: https://www.iol.co.za/news/nspca-slams-slap-on-the-wrist-sentence-for-dr-convicted-of-amputating-monkeys-limbs–6480370e-3274-4e03-a581-0bcd2e0b9687