More animals put down in financial squeeze

2009-05-06 00:00

The economic downturn is forcing the SPCA branch in Pietermaritzburg to euthanase more and more animals because it cannot afford to keep them.

According to Maureen Vida, who is the public relations manager for the branch, there has been a significant increase in the number of pets brought to the SPCA, either by owners who cannot afford to keep them, or strays found throughout the city.

She said that although they do not have verifiable numbers at hand because the situation varies from month to month, the numbers are significant and that has prompted the organisation to put down many more animals than they normally do.

“The situation now is that many animals are being returned and we are finding more and more stray animals.

“And as a charity organisation, we cannot afford to keep many animals,” she added.

Vida said that among the major reasons for the increase in the number of strays and “donated pets” are that people are downsizing and moving from houses to apartments or flats, some are emigrating and others are no longer able to care for their pets.

“When people bring these pets here, some are direct and say that they can no longer afford to look after them, while others choose to abandon them — and those pets become a problem.”

She said the situation has been made worse by some of the SPCA benefactors cancelling their contribution as they feel the economic pinch.

“A lot of our contributors have either emigrated or cancelled their contributions and that has created an even more precarious situation.”

Vida said the SPCA is encouraging pet owners with older pets to put them down humanely rather donate or abandon them.

“If the people can no longer afford to look after their pets, they should put them down because the SPCA cannot afford to look after them.”

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