Local SPCA faces closure

2016-11-17 10:06
Pietermaritzburg SPCA general manager Ronnie Yeoman (left) and inspector Udesh Rajakumar with one of the puppies that may be left without a home if the centre closes. The SPCA has said it is running low on funds and may have to close down in six months if no major donations are received.

Pietermaritzburg SPCA general manager Ronnie Yeoman (left) and inspector Udesh Rajakumar with one of the puppies that may be left without a home if the centre closes. The SPCA has said it is running low on funds and may have to close down in six months if no major donations are received. (Ian Carbutt)

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In just six months, Pietermaritzburg’s 100-year-old SPCA may have to close its doors — a move that will potentially leave the fate of 200 animals in the air.

Making an urgent appeal for any monetary donations, the SPCA’s management said their finances have been stretched to the limit, with only six months worth of reserves remaining.

If the centre — which services Pietermaritzburg and surrounding towns like Richmond and Cato Ridge — does not receive substantial donations within that period, it will be forced to shut down.

In an interview with The Witness, SPCA chairperson Mike Brown and the centre’s new general manager Ronnie Yeoman both agreed that in the instance of the SPCA closing, their staff will scramble to find homes for all the animals instead of resorting to euthanasia.

Brown said the facility does not receive government funding and relies solely on contributions by the public.

“Other SPCAs may find themselves in a strong financial situation but we have a huge area to service and, for that, we need generous donors. The harsh reality is that we may have to close down,” Brown said.

“We are making a passionate plea for residents to get together and rescue the ship. We have on average about 200 dogs and cats on the premises. Euthanasia is an absolute last resort for us here. We will urgently have to find homes for them.”

Brown explained that although many people believe funding is used only for purchasing animal feed and maintaining the kennels, there is much more that goes into the daily running of the facility.

“We have an inspectorate team that must run three vehicles daily, servicing areas all the way out to Dalton and Cool Air.

“We also have to inspect abattoirs, circuses and pet shops while attending to more than a dozen domestic call-outs per day,” Brown said.

“It costs more than half-a-million rand a month to run the facility. A single dog costs us about R800 per month and we sometimes have in excess of 200 in the kennels. That number can easily grow to 600. We simply cannot shut down.”

Yeoman said the SPCA has also been riddled by complaints and rumours spread on social media.

“I am asking the public not to believe everything they hear.

“I have an open-door policy and anybody is welcome to come in and see me at any time,” she said.

“People think we put every animal down but euthanasia is in fact our very last resort now.”

The SPCA will host a Christmas Market Day on December 3 in an attempt to raise funds.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  spca

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