From the desk of Tanya Fleischer

Posted on 2020-05-08 09:35:59


I wrote these words for a talk I did for the KZN Women in Business but thought it would be fitting to share with all our followers, as it gives a bit of insight into the SPCA during lockdown.

Lockdown level 5 saw a team of 9 living on our premises at Springfield Park to care for the animals who were already there, as well as the new ones coming in. They were there 24/7 to ensure the animals were cared for, fed, their living spaces kept clean. The team included an Animal Welfare Assistant and an Inspector (who is also trained as an animal welfare assistant) so they could monitor the health and well-being of the animals as well as being able to handle any emergency situations. In addition we had essential staff travelling in on rotation, over the 5 weeks, our Inspectorate team did over 130 follow ups and investigations, they collected over 280 strays and performed over 33 rescues. Our kennels department admitted over 550 animals, 400 of these were strays and 150 of these were unwanted animals, most owners saying that they could no longer afford to keep them due to the loss of income due to the lockdown, we are expecting these numbers to rise over the coming weeks.

Our animal hospital was also on hand to handle emergencies; one example of this was a female dog that had been stabbed by an intruder in the owner’s yard. We were able to save her life.

Lockdown level 5 meant continuing to be there for the animals. Level 5 also meant the closure of our charity shops, the cancellation or postponement of events, our adoptions being halted, what did this mean for our SPCA? This meant a loss of more than R2 million and dogs and cats waiting even longer before even being given the chance to find a new home. What scares me the most is that these essential assets of ours will only be allowed on level 2. The number of animals coming in keep rising, which means caring and feeding more animals for a much longer period, in the hope that someday soon we will reach level 2 and be able to give them the chance of a forever home. NSPCA has approached the government with a plea to allow us to adopt and we eagerly await their response.

Level 4 has meant that we can fully re-open our veterinary services both in Springfield Park and at our satellite branch in Phoenix, yes I bet some of you didn’t know we had a small branch in Phoenix. The Phoenix branch offers basic clinic services only, such as vaccinations and deworming and we also take in animals from our Phoenix branch to Springfield for sterilisations. Okay so we can now vaccinate, sterilise and offer consultations on level 4. For those that don’t know, our clinic is there to provide basic subsidised veterinary services for pets of underprivileged and unemployed people, and pensioners. Level 4 also meant the 9 live in staff could finally return home as transport and movement is now easier.

On a personal note, my heart aches for the animals who have to wait longer to be adopted, I worry because our food donations have slowed down significantly, I feel responsible for the animals because it’s my department that brings in the donations needed to ensure the animals are cared for, and not just the animals at our SPCA, but the animals of Durban and the north coast who rely on Inspectorate to come when needed, for the dog starving at the end of the chain who is waiting for someone to call us and let us know they need help, for the cat stuck in a drain desperately meowing for someone to hear them to call us so we can rescue them and find them a loving home. I know times are tough but please if you can spare anything to help the animals and to help us help them, we would be so grateful. Whether it’s making a donation via our website, using your talents to raise funds, asking your friends to sponsor you for doing something out of the ordinary, adding us onto your MySchool card . . . the animals need us and they need you, today and into the future, together we can make a difference.

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