I personally find the topic of animal abuse and rescue falls under a couple of broad categories.
You have the people who simply don’t care; they either overlook the abuse entirely and purposefully, or are perhaps perpetrating it themselves.
In the middle there are the people whom I feel fall into the “keeping up with the Jones’s” category. They will agree animal abuse is wrong. They may even occasionally buy a calendar from, or donate a small sum to an animal rescue organisation. Then they are keeping up with the current trend of saving animals, are they not? Very “in” of them. For all of their well-meaning attitude these people would not dreaming of adopting a mixed breed stray from a shelter, or even worse, stopping on the side of the road to physically rescue a starving injured dog. I suppose at least their money is doing good even if they will not physically take part.
Then you have the zealots. These characters will brow beat and verbally attack anyone they feel is not paying proper attention to South Africa’s enormous animal abuse problem. Verbally attacking breeders or owners of pure bred dogs is hardly going to solve the problem. I often wonder if these very vocal zealots have a home full of rescued animals to back up their big words? Have they pulled over at 0430am in the rain to pull a half drowned, three quarters starved, mange covered puppy from a rubbish strewn drain and then put that same puppy in their expensive car to take to the vet?
The last category would be the actual animal rescue organisations themselves. In this case I am referring more to the domestic animal rescue groups rather than wildlife or farm animals. In recent years I find myself becoming more and more disenchanted with the whole spectrum of these organisations. I am disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, they do amazing and heart breaking work in many cases and one has to admire them for that. And I certainly buy whatever cookies or calendars they are endeavoring to sell to raise money. But I am disappointed. Their adverts are touching and motivational, but have you ever asked one of these organisations for help? I have. More than once. There was no help.
I have been involved in helping animals in one form or another as far back as I can remember. Certainly I was under ten years old the first time I convinced my mom to allow me to adopt a stray animal. Now in my thirties I have a home filled with rescues, eleven dogs and three cats. They are my babies, my children. Most of the dogs are mixed breed, others Africanis and a very few are pure bred I assume from their appearance. The only common element that exists is that they are all rescues.
I am hardly demanding that you all rush out to rescue the first animal in need you come across, but I presume there are others like me out there who also have a home filled with special lovable rescues. We are the people just doing our part to stop abuse to the best of our ability.
With the number of animals I already own I almost dread the next time I come across and animal in need. Financially and space wise I cannot possibly adopt yet another stray. And yet my conscience will not allow me to leave the animal in whatever appalling condition I have found it in. So what will I do? I am loath to call the NSPCA, their reputation proceeds them, and they are certainly not a pro life organisation. If I wish the animal to live more than two or three more days once rescued I will not be phoning the NSPCA. The one time I did call them they showed up two days later anyhow. Not the best response time there! And they warned me over the phone that the dogs I was calling them about would most likely be euthanized.
So what of other smaller local rescue groups? I live on the Dolphin Coast and we have a number of them in the area. Puppy SOS, Sables Creatures and Furever Pet Rescue to name a few prominent ones. It is also these organisations that I reached out to for help with my most recent rescue. It started with phone calls to all the contact numbers I could find for them. No one bothered to answer their phones, their cell phones I may add, and who these days does not have their cell phone almost glued to them? So after two days of repeatedly trying to call and Whatsapp these rescue organisations I resorted to email. I explained the circumstances surrounding the rescue, and why I felt, very sadly, this time I could not keep the precious baby dog I had helped. At the time I already had two slightly older puppies I had rescued, puppies in a very bad condition that were highly demanding of both my time for care and money for vet bills. From the three emails sent I received one reply, four days later. Their answer was no, we can’t and won’t help. Which after so long was the answer I more than half expected. But even so a very disappointing response. I had asked them to help me find the puppy a forever home. I was willing to continue looking after her until the home had been found. But they had absolutely no interest in helping.
I am certain they will vocally defend themselves. Oh they were so busy at the time! Oh we did not have space for even one more puppy on our lists! I am painfully aware of how many animals need help since I am providing a minuscule amount of that help all on my own. With my own money. I get no food donations, vet discounts, news articles or public walks held to help me help these needy pets. Perhaps you say, I simply fell through the proverbial cracks that time and should I try again they will be wonderfully helpful. Maybe this is true, but my belief in these organisations has taken so many hits over the recent years that I shan’t hold my breath waiting for that help to arrive.
So with the SPCA and local rescue organisations of little to no help what so ever, who exactly do I call next time I find a starved, emasculated, wounded, tick and mange covered animal in need of help?