Yet people continue to breed with their animals during these trying times. People do not realize (or do not want to realize) that we already have such an overpopulated dog and cat population. More puppies and kittens mean more euthanasia.
The sad reality is that people cannot afford to sterilize their animals. Veterinarians charge anything from R650 to R1200+ to sterilize a dog or cat. Many of the people we work with in the poor and impoverished areas are either unemployed or cannot afford to pay their rent, buy food for their families, let alone feed their animals. Yet they always make a plan for food for both their families and their beloved pets. You have to ask yourself, what is more important, feeding your animal or sterilizing them? The last bit of money has to go somewhere. These people love their animals dearly – it is all they have. They will spend their last bit of money on food for their beloved pet. We have seen some eating after their animals have eaten first. They just cannot afford to sterilize them.
This means that the breeding cycle continues.
They then call on the SPCA to collect the unwanted puppies and kittens. At least they have the decency of not simply giving them to any Tom, Dick and Harry that might subject them to cruelty (read here for more information on “Free-to-good-homes”). The SPCA is their only hope. The reality is that we only have 94 dog kennels and 34 cat kennels at our Vereeniging branch and 50 dog kennels and 16 cat kennels at our Vanderbijlpark branch. WE CANNOT KEEP THEM ALL – we do not have the space. By law we cannot turn any animal away. Yes, we cannot say no. We cannot say “sorry we are full”. We have to make a plan and take them in. Even if we could turn them away, we wouldn’t as we know where they will inevitably end up. Our Inspectors see the cruelty out there on a daily basis.
What is left for us to do?
We take them in, give them love, a bowl of food and a clean kennel with a warm bed to sleep in until their time runs out. Sadly, we have to choose who can stay and has a chance to a good home, and euthanase those that we do not have space for or do not find a home. This breaks us. Some of our staff leave work crying every day, wanting to walk away and give up. But they always come back because they know if we do not care for them, who will? Who will give these animals their last bit of love and comfort? Who will tell them it is going to be okay? Who will speak to them and comfort them while they exhale their last breath? Our staff will. Not because they want to, but because no one else will.
Who is to blame for this? Not the SPCA or our staff. Those that breed with dogs and cats are to blame. Those that get a new puppy or a kitten they cannot afford to care for or refuse to have them sterilized. Those that allow their pets to roam the streets. Those that allow their pets to have just one litter because they have been told it is good for their pet’s growth or character. Those that feel too masculine to have their male dog neutered because it is not good for their image.
Why must our staff go through all this pain and trauma caused by others? Because no one else will. We have to make the difficult decision. Crying is part of our staff’s daily routine.
Imagine having to smile and thank someone for bringing in a second litter of puppies for the year, all curled up in a box. “We thought we will bring them to the SPCA. No one else wanted them. At least you can sell them now to make some money for the SPCA.” Excuse me, sell them? We do not sell animals. Rehoming animals cost us money! We have to pay for their sterilization, vaccination, deworming, microchipping, staff salaries that cared for them whilst in our care and any other expenses like veterinary bills (if the animal got sick) and fuel to do a home inspection. The adoption fee paid by caring members of the public that choose to adopt an animal does not cover the full adoption expenses – yes, we have to pay in for every adoption. Yest we do everything in our power to find homes for as many animals as we can, but there is simply not enough good homes.
There is a myth that the SPCA gets paid by the municipality for every animal we take in. This could not be further from the truth. We get NOTHING from the municipality, even though we are doing their work for them for the past 25 years, by running the small animal pound at no compensation whatsoever. In terms of the Constitution of the country a municipality is legally obliged to provide an animal pound – there is none in our area. The municipality is bankrupt. They have no money. If we did not offer this service, who else will? Where will all the animals go? All the “no kill” shelters in our area are either full or almost full and cannot take in more animals. We are the only safe haven for these animals. We cannot turn a blind eye. We cannot say no. Because we know where they will inevitably end up.
What is the solution? STERILISATION!
How can we sterilize animals for those that cannot afford it? We do not have a veterinarian on staff nor do we have the funds to subsidies this. We can only help sterilize the animals of the poor and impoverished with your help! We need your support. We cannot do this alone. Earlier this year we almost had to close our doors due to donations drying up as a result of Covid-19. Thanks to the financial support of our loyal followers and donors we managed to keep our doors open.
We are on our knees, begging for your support. Help us raising R100,000 to sterilize 225 dogs and cats. In less than 6 months, 225 dogs and cats can produce over 1,300 offspring. Those 1,300 offspring can produce another 7,800 offspring in the next 12 months to come. We cannot sustain more puppies and kittens! Shelters are over flowing. Sterilization is the solution.
You can stop the next litter of puppies or kittens from being euthanased by make a small donation.