Court could be saddled with animal suspect

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

A horse that was allegedly used to transport a stolen car, may be "summoned to appear" in the trial of two men it was arrested with in a police anti-vehicle theft operation.

The mare was detained with the two, who were aboard a cart the horse was pulling in Mofolo, Soweto, on Tuesday afternoon.

The stripped-down body of a brand new Toyota Conquest was loaded on the cart.

The suspects, aged 25 and 35, were taken into custody with the animal - though it is not clear how the animal was incarcerated.

Ronald Ramalata, head of the public relations department at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Booysens, Johannesburg, said: "The horse can be used as an exhibit in court. Also, depending on the seriousness of the abuse that may have been caused to it, the suspects may be charged with cruelty to animals.

"The horse is still in a nervous state. We do not know who it belongs to, but we are investigating and we may still open a case against the suspects."

SPCA public relations manager Allison Cooper said: "There are no recent external injuries visible, but the horse has scars from previous injuries. It will be taken for examination today and the vet will then be able to say whether the horse is okay or not."

Police spokesman Lindiwe Mbatha said the suspects were still in custody and would appear in the Protea magistrates' court today.