South Africans unite to call for justice for Siberian-Husky…Max

South Africans have taken to social media in the past 24 hours in distress over an incident in which a dog was allegedly brutally beaten to death by a guesthouse owner. SAPeople has been inundated with requests to share the story in the hope of bringing justice for the dog, and a community page that was set up on Facebook yesterday in support of Max – the dog in question – has already attracted a following of almost 6,000 people.

Siberian-husky Max. Source: FB

In fact the story has so flooded social media that one user wrote “Don’t want to sound rude, but can we perhaps have ONE post about Max only. It’s flooding my newsfeed and my heart aches and I feel nauseous every time I read about the horrific incident again.”

Max, a two-year-old Siberian husky belonging to the Kotze family, was allegedly beaten after biting a goat. According to a comment on FB by his original owner, who sold Max six months ago “Ek is nie seker nie…maar hulle se hy het ‘n bok gebyt en toe slaan hulle hom dood he is ‘n uur lank geslaan en het verdrink in sy eie bloed.” (“I’m not sure…but they say he bit a goat and so they hit him till he died. They hit him for an hour and he drowned in his own blood.”)

Sign erected at the site where Max was allegedly beaten to death
Source: FB/Justice for Max

The FB page that has been set up calling for “Justice for Max” claims that Max was “beaten to death” by a Guesthouse owner and not only names the owner but also calls on people to boycott his guest house in White River “and demand justice for Max”.

According to a necropsy it was apparently a broken rib which punctured Max’s lung after he was taken to an outside room by the guesthouse owner and his workers.

With several links to articles about animal cruelty and quotes like one pointing out that animals seldom get  justice because the law treats them as ‘things’, the page says “this kind of savage cruelty to animals has gone on long enough in South Africa. We the citizens of South Africa have had enough now. Justice for Max! We want an arrest and a PRISON SENTENCE NOT A FINE!”

The outside room where Max was allegedly beaten by the guesthouse owner and his workers. Source: FB/Justice for Max
The outside room where Max was allegedly beaten by the guesthouse owner and his workers. Source: FB/Justice for Max

A petition is currently being drawn up, and Husky Rescue SA are arranging a March.

Siobhan Kelly, from Husky Rescue, posted a message three hours ago stating “We at Husky Rescue will never forget Max whose life was taken from him so brutally. Whilst the NSPSA and SAPS carry on with their investigations we would like to arrange a march in honour of Max and also to create awareness of the husky breed…We have been asked to tread softly while the investigations are ongoing so as not to jeopardise the case of NSPCA and SAPS. Let us all stand together for a few hours and let our voices be heard!”

Details of the march will be available within the next 24 hours.

Siobhan also posted Albert Einstein’s famous quote: “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it!”

On the Justice for Max page, they have posted Helen Keller’s famous quote “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

Max Max

The Facebook pages and messages, together with graphic photos showing the horrific injuries to Max have caused a backlash against the alleged abuser, and the Justice for Max page has had to repeatedly appeal to the “animal loving community of South Africa” to please refrain from profanities and threats, to NOT contact the perpetrator, to remember that “violence solves nothing” and that the purpose of the Justice for Max community page is to ensure that  justice is “TRULY served…not only for Max, but for his poor owner who witnessed the brutal murder of his beloved pet in such a tragic fashion.”

In its most recent message, the page says “whilst this horrific story may summon pure venom in all of us we urge all of you to remain rational” and stresses that “it’s our numbers that count not our rants.”


The Spahn family, who have been implicated in the death of Max, have released a statement which was published in the LowVelder saying that “we have a few goats and a pig which browse in the fenced land ajacent to Kotze’s property. Since October 2014, our neighbour’s dogs have been marauding on our property, attacking and killing our animals…In the course of two months, these two dogs had continuously attacked our animals, killing another goat and maiming “Piggy”. We tried to reach out several times to the Kotzes in an attempt to resolve this issue but they ignored us, despite their knowledge that their dogs were “naughty”, as their staff put it during one of our attempts to address the problem.”

They explained that on December 28 they heard their goat being attacked and “in the process of freeing our goats, being at our wit’s end and in the face of constants attacks on our animals on our property, fearing for our own security in the face of these aggressive, proven killer animals, and with a negligent neighbour unconcerned about the welfare of our animals and our security, we mortally wounded one dog.”

The statement said “we extend our condolences to the Kotze family, as in resolving this threat to our animals, security and property we have unfortunately taken a cherished life. We are also grieving the loss of three of our goats – one of which was heavily pregnant.”

Mr Kotze told the Lowvelder that the Spahns did not reach out several times and had only posted one note on a gate asking him to turn down his music.

Both neighbours have apparently opened a case of animal cruelty against each other.


If you would like to add your support for Max, please visit:  Justice for Max

To read the Lowvelder’s full article with comments from both parties, please click here.

PLEASE NOTE: Please do NOT post comments that are abusive or threatening…as this could hinder the case. Thank you.


  1. The beating of Max cannot be ignored and cannot go unpunished. The owner/s and staff of the guest house, ilanda, who perpetrated the crime must be held accountable and punished to the full extent of what our law will allow. Beating a dog to death, enduring pain and suffering for one hour, is not acceptable, no matter what the cause. Cruelty and abuse, towards animals, children, women, fellow humans, is never ok! And apathy towards it, is never ok! Let Max not die in vain, support the organizations that are against cruelty of any form, help them any way you can, the anti cruelty fight is a daily, emotionally tiring battle, but we must persevere because every saved life, every changed perception, is one step in the right direction. It starts small but it grows big and as Gandhi said “The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated”.

  2. Dear Max
    We are very sorry that you died this gruesome death due to so called “human beings” are unable to reconcile.
    The greatness of a nation and its moral porgress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948).
    We have sadly failed you.
    Many blessings

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