Pubdate: Sat, 19 Mar 2016
Source: Herald, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2016 The Herald
Author: Yolande Stander


Owner, SPCA Plan to Lay Charges After 'Traumatic Event', Writes Yolande Stander

A GARDEN Route herbalist who says she is battling to come to terms 
with the trauma of her dog being shot and killed by police will 
institute a civil claim following what she says was an extremely 
traumatic event.

The dog was shot when police raided Sharon Price's home in search of dagga.

While the police claim the 11-year-old pitbull named Izzy was shot in 
self-defence, Price, of Great Brak River near Mossel Bay, and her 
family believe otherwise.

"Izzy would not have hurt anyone as she was the most loving dog. She 
did not attack anyone and was shot in the side while turning around 
to run back to my son after he had called her to him," Price said.

The incident happened last Saturday and Price said she was still 
devastated by the loss. Yesterday she said after consultation with 
her lawyer she not only planned to lay a complaint against the 
police, but would also institute civil proceedings following the loss.

The Garden Route SPCA has indicated that it also will lay a complaint 
of animal cruelty after a postmortem revealed the dog had suffered a 
painful death.

"Nine officers showed up on our property  weapons drawn. And what 
they found were not drug dealers or criminals, but my elderly mother, 
my sick ex-husband on a ventilator, my 38-year-old son, Sheldon, and 
my two-year-old grandchild," Price said.

Price was in George at the time of the incident.

"When the police approached the house, my son took Izzy inside, but 
she jumped out of a window and started barking at the officers."

She said her son had immediately called the dog to him, but their pet 
had been shot as she was retreating.

Price claims the dog did not die instantly and suffered for several minutes.

"And even worse, the shot was fired in the direction of my family, 
who were standing on the verandah. If Izzy had moved, my son would 
have been hit."

Police spokesman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed that members of 
the Great Brak River police had been following up on information 
regarding the cultivation of dagga when the incident took place.

"The officers were attacked by an aggressive dog. The dog was 
subsequently shot and killed to prevent the imminent danger. The 
circumstances surrounding the matter are being investigated," Rwexana said.

Price said she had rushed back to Great Brak River and handed herself 
over to the police. She appeared in the local magistrate's court on 
Monday on charges relating to the cultivation and possession of dagga.

Police also arrested her son shortly after the shooting and 
confiscated her seven dagga plants. They have to be back in court on April 5.

Price said she was a registered herbalist or nyanga.

"There is a list of herbs we can work with and cannabis [dagga] is 
one of them. If they [the police] had bothered to ask, my family 
would have given them the paperwork."

While dagga is widely used for medicinal purposes, possession and 
cultivation remain illegal in SA.

Price said the plants were used to produce oil which is  along with a 
healthy and organic diet  used to treat a large number of ailments 
from seizures to cancer.

Price and her family buried their pet, but had to dig the dog up as 
the SPCA wanted to conduct the postmortem.

"I can't reveal much at this stage, but an autopsy was done and 
following that we have decided to lay a complaint of animal cruelty 
against the police," Garden Route SPCA senior inspector Salome Bruyns said.




A GARDEN Route herbalist facing charges pertaining to cultivating 
dagga on her farm at Great Brak River near Mossel Bay claims the 
plants were grown for medicinal purposes only and have helped many of 
her patients.

Sharon Price handed herself over to the police last Saturday after 
officers allegedly found several dagga plants on her property.

"These particular plants are very special and took me two years to 
grow. They are very similar to Charlotte's Web cannabis," Price said.

This particular plant  bred by a group of scientists in Colorado  is 
high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 
therefore does not induce the psychoactive "high" of recreational dagga.

THC is the chemical compound that causes this reaction in the user.

The oil produced from the plant has been classified as a legal herbal 
supplement in the US and was named after a now 10-year-old girl, 
Charlotte Figi, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, which causes severe 
and frequent seizures. Charlotte has shown remarkable improvement 
since using the oil from the age of five.

"I actually challenge the police to have the plants tested as this 
would reveal that the plants are solely for medicinal purposes," Price said.

She started research into the medicinal properties of cannabis when 
her sister was diagnosed with cancer and died several years ago.

Many claim that cannabis oil is a miracle cure for conditions ranging 
from epilepsy and multiple sclerosis to cancer and diabetes.

Price, a registered herbalist, said she had seen this firsthand among 
her patients, from curing pancreatic cancer in patients who had been 
given weeks to live to treating seizures.

"It is not a cure in everyone, but every patient has some result," Price said.
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