I think it is necessary to clarify a few aspects regarding our organization. There are many misconceptions having an impact on what we do, why we do it and eventually has an influence on our public image.
The SPCA is different from other animal rescue organizations. To compare us with each other is like comparing reptiles with mammals. Each has its place, but they are different. I know we are not always popular. However, the SPCA is the organization enforcing the Animal Protection Act No 71 of 1962. We have to adhere to the SPCA Act No 169 of 1993. We can’t do as we please.We have to prosecute offenders, we have to issue warnings, remove animals. We have to conduct inspections and follow up on them.The other organizations do not have to do all of this. We are not allowed to refuse any animal admission to our facilities. The other organizations may do so.
The issue of euthanasia is a huge problem for people, I know. It is a problem for us as well. But what are the alternatives? What do you do if you may not refuse an animal and you are full? What do you do if you are already full and on a Friday afternoon you suddenly have to admit 20 animals? Over the past 6 months only we admitted 1200 animals. Most of these animals were surrendered by their owners. many were stray animals, and others were abandoned, rescued or confiscated under warrant. All the result of lack of ethics towards animals. Most of these animals were not claimed or adopted. We had to send them over the Rainbow Bridge. Many people will not agree, but in certain cases being put to sleep is much better that ending up in the hands of some humans. It is also a form of rescue. Yes, there is a fate much worse than death. We witness it every single day. And as long as the lack of values with regards to animals and animal ownership does not change, this will not change. If people do not stop breeding, if people do not sterilize, if people do not realize that having a pet is a privilege and a life-long commitment, cruelty and neglect and abuse will be our companions.
Why do we have strict adoption policies? To ensure that these animals do not become part of the statistics as indicated above. We have to ensure that the property is suitable and safe for the specific animal, that the potential animal parents can afford to take care of the animal, that they have access and the means to veterinary treatment, that the animals will fit in with the rest of the pack. And above all, we have to ensure that we release a sterilized animal.
Our SPCA has only one inspector. We would have loved to be able to employ more, as well as field officers. But we simply can’t afford it. This one inspector must attend to all cruelty complaints ( during the past month we had 74), pro-active inspections at farms, abattoirs, pet shops, etc in a huge area. She has to attend to court cases. If a complaint is not attended to immediately, try to remember that it might not be the only one. If a home check is not done on the same day, please consider the possibility that there is a cruelty case that needs immediate attention.
It might happen that when dealing with the staff they might not always be as friendly as one would have expected. I do not condone this at all, but we are also only human. Maybe the person you speak to ….
just had to euthanize 50 healthy animals to make space…
just had to hold the animals to be euthanized until the last breath has left their little bodies…
just attended to a cow with legs being chopped off, still alive…
just had to remove a little dog burned with hot water with no skin left…
just lost a dog rape case because of lack of evidence, or just because the law is not always on our side….
We have to always remember that what we do here is not about us. It is not to boost our own egos or to become popular. It is for the animals and only for the animals. They are innocent, defenseless creatures subject to the mercy of humans who regard them as less important, and with a complete disregard for their feelings, and for the fact that they are sentient beings. It always leaves me speechless that so many people we come across have the idea that animals do not need food or shelter or affection.
We will continue to be their voice. We will continue to fight for them, to pick up the pieces and to find justice for them. And sometimes, in the middle of all the heartbreak, we have a ray of sunshine, a happy ending. And this is what gives us the courage not to give up.