Estranged couple in tug-of-war over pet terrier
A Capetonian man would have been happy to be rid of his ex-girlfriend, if only she had not “stolen” his Jack Russell terrier, Zeus, and given it away.
Nickey van der Walt (31), an IT consultant, thought his relationship of more than two years with Bianca Krukenberg (23), along with all its complications, was over. He even changed the locks on a house they had previously bought together.
But when he arrived at the property in Parklands near Bloubergstrand, Zeus was gone.
Van der Walt reported the dog’s disappearance to the police as a case of housebreaking and theft because he believed a window had been forced open.
According to a charge sheet at the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court, Krukenberg was indeed charged with housebreaking, but the case was withdrawn in November so that the couple could resolve their dispute informally.
On paper, they each own half of the house and Krukenberg had signed the paperwork to adopt Zeus. Their lawyers are handling the matter.
But this does not help him much, an emotional Van der Walt told City Press’ sister paper, Rapport.
Zeus was dropped at Fisantekraal Animal Welfare (FAW) in Durbanville, where they had earlier adopted him. This organisation, despite Van der Walt’s pleas, found new owners for Zeus.
Van der Walt does not know who they are and whether his pet is happy.
Correspondence Rapport saw showed how even Van der Walt’s mother, who lives in KwaZulu-Natal, pleaded to adopt the dog to ensure Zeus stayed in the family.
She even offered to buy a plane ticket for the terrier.
FAW maintained that they could not allow dogs to be adopted in other provinces.
Van der Walt is furious with FAW and feels the animal shelter acted improperly.
Winette Klopper, manager of FAW, confirmed that Zeus had been well looked after and Van der Walt certainly did not mistreat the dog.
However, she said their policy forbade them from giving the dog back to him.
“On paper, Bianca is the owner. She brought the dog back and signed a form that explicitly said they could no longer care for him.
“According to our policy, neither Bianca nor Nickey will ever be able to adopt an animal from us again.
“Zeus became a chess piece between two people who hate each other. It is very sad.”
But no one is more heartbroken than he is, says a resentful Van der Walt.
“Bianca never loved Zeus. That is why we agreed the dog could stay with me. The only reason for her to remove Zeus was to be spiteful towards me.” Krukenberg says she did nothing “unlawful”. “I broke up with Nickey and he cannot get over it. He must move on.”
Krukenberg still has her “own dog”, a Chihuahua named Gizmo. He is older and goes to a dog centre during the day. Zeus was too young for her busy schedule, says the personal assistant.
“I owe no one any explanation. I took the dog back precisely to ensure he finds a good home again.”
AT A LOSS Nickey van der Walt and his pet in happier
FIRM Bianca Krukenberg returned