SPCA stray kennels full after a weekend of fireworks

2010-11-08 00:00

THE kennels at SPCA branches from Durban to the midlands are full to capacity with traumatised animals, following a combination of heavy thunderstorms on Friday and the weekend’s Diwali and Guy Fawkes celebrations.

Teams of inspectors and their assistants worked in shifts round the clock at the weekend to try and rescue dogs and cats, which ran away from their homes in response to the sounds of fireworks exploding in the night sky.

According to Dr Marianne de Vries, of the department of companion animal clinical studies at the University of Pretoria, both cats and dogs are extremely sensitive to sound — dogs can hear five times more acutely than humans and cats twice as acutely as dogs — which is why they are so traumatised by the sound of fireworks.

Maureen Vida, of the Pietermaritzburg SPCA, said their 20 stray kennels were currently filled to capacity. “Most of the casualties brought in by SPCA staff and caring members of the public came in throughout the evening on Friday as a result of the Guy Fawkes and Diwali celebrations,” she added.

Some of those the inspectors were sent to help, however, could not be saved. Vida said that two German Shepherds had to be humanely euthanised — one climbed over a garden wall and then threw itself through the glass window of the neighbour’s house; and the other was found badly injured in a pond after it was apparently hit by a car.

Fotunately some of the animals rescued have been reunited with their owners, but many are still sitting in the stray blocks of the various SPCA branches waiting for their families to claim them. “The SPCA urges anyone who may have lost a pet, to not only report their pet missing, but to call in at the SPCA as soon as possible,” Vida said.

Pietermaritzburg SPCA’s experience was echoed at uMgeni SPCA in Howick, where Sandile Mthembu, who was enroute to his third call of the day at 10 am yesterday morning, said the stray kennels were full and the staff were now accommodating the animals in the adoption kennels. “We have received a lot of strays over the last few days … we’re picking them up on the road and everywhere,” he said.

Colin Peterson, of the Kloof and Highway SPCA, which covers Westville to Cato Ridge, said they had three teams on the road on Friday and every one of them was really busy. Yesterday things were quieter with the SPCA only attending to three call outs and 12 reports of dogs out on the road.

All those The Witness spoke to agreed, however, that it would help if owners took the time to either get their animals micro-chipped (a process in which a tiny chip containing the owner’s details is inserted under the animal’s skin) or to ensure they have a collar and licence disc, or even, simply, a contact number written onto the collar.

Ahead of the weekend’s celebrations the SPCA had encouraged owners to keep their animals indoors and to tranquilise them if they are very nervous.

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