The uMngeni Municipality refused to accept a memorandum and petition from SPCA supporters protesting the municipality’s failure to pay the organisation money due to it for over a year.As a result uMngeni SPCA has been forced to close its small animal pound and suspend some services, such as removing stray dogs that wander into properties.A group of some 30 people gathered at the Howick Falls Hotel parking lot on Wednesday morning carrying South African flags and sporting signs in support of the SPCA.One of the organisers of the march, Derrick dos Santos, said they had prepared a memorandum to hand over to municipal manager Thembeka Cibane, as well as a petition that has gained international support with just over 13 000 signatures. On reaching the municipality, they were met with closed gates and Cibane’s “refusal to acknowledge the public and the petition”.“Shame on Thembeka Cibane. We want to support you as the manager of our municipality but you refuse to hear our concerns or to acknowledge our presence and collect the memorandum,” Dos Santos said.He said that when they asked the head of protection services if they could leave the memorandum and petition there for Cibane, they were told “No, you can’t”.Since July 22, uMngeni SPCA has not picked up stray dogs on the streets, intervened when animals escape their properties and attack people, or removed animal carcasses, due to the non-payment.Dos Santos said the SPCA is owed over R900 000 and that the money had not been raised through fundraising as reported in Tuesday’s paper.A group calling itself “Friends of uMngeni SPCA” are behind Wednesday’s march and the launch of the petition.The memorandum calls on the municipality to pay its dues to the SPCA and sign a new agreement. “The KwaZulu-Natal Pound Act of 2006 is a gazetted law that requires the municipality to either have a municipal pound or outsource that service to a pound master or the SPCA,” said the memorandum.“The uMngeni SPCA is experienced, equipped and capable of continuing this service as they have done so well. In the time their pound has been closed, calls to the person responsible at the traffic department have been met with silence or notice of unavailability. The adverse effect on our animal welfare and community is profound.” Among the marchers was 96-year-old animal lover Eunice Colmer.uMngeni municipal spokesperson Thando Mgaga had not responded to queries about the matter at the time of going to print on Wednesday.