Animal care league in trouble

2012-03-08 00:00

THE threat of closure or relocation looms over the Pietermaritzburg Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) following objections received from the Claridge Property Owners’ and Residents’ Association.

Issues raised by the residents include high noise levels and the AACL exceeding the maximum capacity of animals allowed on its premises.

“We have sent them a general warning to convey the complaints of the residents in the area,” said James Arnot, chairperson of the association. “I don’t think that we have been unreasonable, and if they have difficulty trying to comply then they would have to look for another property.”

Tony Guia, the national chairperson of the Animal Cruelty League, said: “As a small animal shelter which looks at the welfare of animals, we feel it is wrong to restrict the amount of animals we can hold, as in many instances, this is beyond our control …

“At this stage a ‘temporary’ closure is very much on the cards, as we have to look at it on a day-to-day basis and cannot assume permanent closure.”

The Pietermaritzburg SPCA has already removed 26 dogs and 19 cats from the AACL for safekeeping at the request of Guia. On March 1 Rulof Jackson, chief inspector for the AACL national body, officially signed the animals over to the SPCA.

Said Maureen Vida, the SPCA spokesperson: “Due to a lack of space we will have to make decisions in regard to the animals based on how re-homeable they are — whether they are friendly, active and healthy.

“If anyone has a claim on any of these animals, they need to come in before the end of the week.”

With the increase in strays on the roads animal welfare organisations are finding it hard to keep up.

“There’s a huge increase in the number of strays,” said Vida. “Animals need to be sterilised. There are also not enough people coming to look to home animals, which is why euthanasia figures are so high.”

Re-homing animals from the Claridge AACL proved to be even more difficult due to the remote location and residents’ association objection to the AACL putting up a sign to indicate its location.

A new steering committee, headed by Vivienne Bancroft, has been formed to see to the welfare of the remaining animals at the league’s shelter and survival of the PMB AACL, and will be monitored by the national AACL.

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