In a bizarre move that has sent shockwaves through the community, a dead dog was kept in a public hospital's mortuary.
The incident happened on Tuesday afternoon after the dog was allegedly found killed in Nebo, Sekhukhune, at a burglary scene.
Police allegedly insisted that the animal be kept in the morgue while they waited for a postmortem to be conducted on it.
It is said that officials of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told the police and officials at St Rita's Hospital to keep the dog at the mortuary.
But the provincial department of health and social development is unhappy about the decision.
"It's unethical," said a fuming Phuti Seloba, pictured, the department's spokesman. "We can't mix dogs with human beings.
"Mortuaries are meant to keep the bodies of people before burial and not those of animals."
According to Seloba an official who works at the hospital's mortuary told them he was forced to place the dog in the hospital mortuary while they were waiting for postmortem results.
The postmortem was supposed to have been conducted late yesterday and no results were available at the time of going to press.
"We are going to conduct our own investigations to find out under what circumstances the dog was brought to our mortuary," Seloba saids. Whoever is found to be at fault will have to face the might of the law."
Police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Rama- tseba confirmed yesterday that the dog was found killed at the scene of a housebreaking in Motetema near Groblersdal and that the SPCA was involved in handling the matter.
An official at the SPCA in Polo- kwane, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed it was not the right decision to put an animal cadaver with human corpses in a mortuary.
"Surely there are many places with cooling facilities the dog could have been taken to? It still baffles us how such a decision was arrived at," the official said.
"If the SPCA wanted to conduct a postmortem on the animal they should have considered other options rather than to keep it with human beings."