No funds, so no pet food at PMB SPCA

2011-05-24 00:00

THE message posted on the 100 Riders Facebook fan page group wall reads: “SPCA PMB Woodhouse Road in a food crisis … Any pet food please, help to save a life”.

Now this group of motorbikers is trying to collect food for the Pietermaritzburg Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The cash-strapped SPCA has not received its payment from the Msunduzi Municipality for April and May.

The SPCA has been acting as a pound for the municipality since 1959.

When approached by The Witness, SPCA spokesperson Maureen Vida admitted that the association is going through a rough patch.

“We don’t have food for the animals. We had to go online and ask for donations because the municipality has delayed the payments.”

Vida said there were other factors contributing to the crisis, including the drop in interest rates and soaring inflation.

“Many of our donors are no longer able to help us as they have done in the past. Also, there is an increase in the number of animals coming in to us monthly, because people can no longer afford to look after their animals.

“In addition there is a lot of uncontrolled breeding. That is why in our SPCA welfare clinic sterilisation of domestic animals is a priority.

“Every municipal area by-law has to have a pound and we run the pound on behalf of the municipality in this area. We take in strays and donated animals. We also collect dead animals from the street as part of the pound operation.”

In April alone the SPCA took in about 500 stray animals.

Vida described the situation as “critical”.

She said the overdue payment from the municipality’s office is affecting the pound’s operation.

“We really don’t know what’s going on,” she added.

The association has sent numerous e-mails and made several calls to the municipality’s accounts department, but no one has responded to its cry for help.

Vida said the SPCA is still waiting for the pound contract to be finalised. It was prepared and sent to the municipality in November last year to be signed by the municipal manager and SPCA manager.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma admitted that there are a few glitches.

“We’ve been providing grant funding to the SPCA without the service legal agreement. In terms of the Auditor-General’s report, we were in contravention of the law by doing so,” he said.

There are other similar cases, Zuma said. The municipality is “sorting out” Pietermaritzburg Tourism, which was affected in the same manner.

“Unfortunately, while we are sorting out issues of compliance with the law, some people or organisations are going to be affected. We are putting things right at the municipality … a bit of patience is going to be needed.”

Zuma told The Witness the SPCA will be paid in the middle of June after the process has been finalised with the legal division.

Meanwhile, the pound relies on the public’s generosity to feed the animals.

Vida said the funding from Msunduzi is a service fee for running the pound in Msunduzi and that it is not classified as grant funding.

To make arrangements for donations, call 033 386 9267.

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