Melbourne, Australia - A 40 year old Australian woman, Tracy Leske, in conjunction with the Kenya SPCA, is attempting to raise support to ensure a Kenya Wildlife Service Corporal is punished after a brutal attack on a cat in Kwale, only meters from a Kenya Wildlife Service office.
The woman, who is a founder of her own animal welfare and rights organization Oceans 2 Earth Foundation
responded to a screaming sound and witnessed the uniformed KWS Corporal holding a cat by the tail while attempting to slash off her head with a panga (small machete).
The woman intercepted the man and had the young cat treated at a vet clinic in Ukunda after she met with limited assistance by the local people. The cat, who she has named Hope Tumaini (Tumaini is Hope in Swahili), suffered a deep cut on the back of her neck two inches long and through to the bone where there was an indentation left and soft tissue damage to two of her legs. She lost a lot of blood and lost her fight two weeks after the incident. “We thought she was going to pull through as she was in good spirits after her operation. She deserved a happy long life after what she had been through.”
Kenya Wildlife Service Head Office stated that they will be staying out of the matter regardless that the officer broke both the KWS Code of Conduct and a Kenyan law against cruelty to animals. The Animal Cruelty Act 360 states that it is illegal to attempt to kill or purposefully cause harm or injure an animal. The woman was told by Senior Official at Head Office, Julius Kimani that she should allow the court system to do justice. Contradictory to this, KSPCA stated it is pointless prosecuting the man who would sail through a corrupt court system. A recent case KSPCA was prosecuting was postponed three years. The woman, despite being a female travelling alone in Kenya, was invited to sit with the perpetrator, who was armed and said to be drunk, according to a resident who witnessed the incident and "sort the matter out privately”.
Cruelty to animals is illegal in Kenya but many local people consider cats to be vermin. “Even those who support animal’s rights are not willing to support any prosecution of perpetrators for fear of retribution or punishment in some way” Mrs. Leske stated.
The woman is hoping that by publicizing the matter, animal welfare groups from around the world will put pressure on KWS to take action against the man and at the very least remove him from his position at KWS if a successful prosecution cannot be realised. "Cruelty to animals is inexcusable, but in this case where the perpetrator is a KWS officer, it was unexpected and even more deplorable," said treating veterinary surgeon Dr Peter Nyagah. “The KWS vision is ‘To be a leader in wildlife conservation’ said Tracy Leske, however Kenya do not consider cats and dogs wildlife even though most animals are homeless and left to breed uncontrollably”. KSPCA has repeatedly pleaded with Government District Veterinarians to cease poisoning street cats and dogs with Strichnin as the death is long and painful after paralysis occurs.
Marlen, the Head of KSPCA stated that, “There are so few people interested in animal welfare here that you would think that the ones working as the voice for animals should be concerned. KSPCA simply do not have the resources or the manpower for neuter or vaccination programs.”
An avid animal lover and animal welfare activist, Mrs. Leske was undertaking a University Field Project at the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary completing research on methods to reduce human-elephant conflict in the region. She was located in the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary office at the time which is located in a KWS staff compound. Four other people witnessed the attack, including three children, all of which are not coming forward.
100% of the funds raised will go to KSPCA Mombasa , the only domestic animal charitable organisation in Kenya, in the attempt to have the KWS officer retired from his post. Dedicated staff rescue animals like Hope every day and aim to promote the protection of all animals; to prevent cruelty and relieve animals from all manners of suffering. Staff visit schools and encourage schools to visit KSPCA where they explain about animal welfare and the humane treatment of all living creatures. Unfortunately, the KSPCA only have funds until January 2013 and will close down if they do not receive further financial support.
For more information on Hope or to donate to KSPCA Mombasa, visit http://www.oceans2earth.org/foundation, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Company: Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers (O2E) was founded by and is run by volunteers to offer volunteering and adventure travel experiences for animal and conservation lovers, in order to positively impact the issues of animal mistreatment and environmental destruction through firsthand experience and engagement. O2E raises funds for animal welfare and habitat protection NGO’s (non-governmental organisations) by providing responsible travel and volunteering consistent with O2E’s Ethical Standards and Wildlife Code. O2E deals exclusively with animal organisations and we are the only company in Australia that offers paying volunteer opportunities that are carefully screened and programmed to make sure there is real benefit to the organisations as well as to the volunteers without a negative impact on animals, areas and communities. O2E offers a range of opportunities to volunteer such as in wildlife shelters, hospitals, and welfare organisations in Australia, Ecuador, Malawi, Kenya, Mexico, Thailand and the Galapagos Islands. O2E makes a difference by empowering others to make a real difference by participating in programs with local sustainable solutions for global problems instead of a photo opp. Oceans 2 Earth Volunteers helps volunteers to make a difference to their earth one animal at a time.