The Cape Animal Welfare Forum (Cawf), a non-government organisation, last week received a R750 000 donation from the City of Cape Town.
Cawf is an umbrella body consisting of 33 registered animal welfare non-profit organisations, including the SPCA Cape of Good Hope in Grassy Park, Tears animal rescue in Sunnydale and the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha.
Even before the Covid-19 national lockdown began, these organisations suffered severe financial losses due to repeated break-ins (“Struggling animal clinic endures another blow”, People’s Post 14 May).
In the past three months, the animal welfare sector has undergone serious challenges that have depleted their ability to raise funds towards supporting animals at shelters.
“The City of Cape Town has generously granted R750 000 to the Cape Animal Welfare Forum in order to ease the plight of suffering animals living within indigent Cape communities. Many of these NGOs have suffered major financial setbacks since the start of lockdown, making this grant critical to their ability to continue supporting communities.
“Funds will be used to buy dog and cat food for families with animals living within indigent areas serviced by Cawf member organisations,” said Karin de Klerk, chair of Cawf.
Families who have fallen on hard times during the lockdown have been unable to care and provide for their furry friends.
Tears Animal Rescue’s general manager, Lauren Carlyle, explained the impact that job-losses have had on pet owners in a statement.
“We cannot underestimate the impact that the Covid-19 lockdown is having on people who have lost their source of income, been retrenched or been placed on unpaid leave. This doesn’t only have dire consequences on the people living on or near the breadline, but it’s fast becoming an animal welfare crisis.
“Tears is receiving dozens of calls for help from financially compromised pet owners who aren’t able to feed or look after their pets. As conditions continue to deteriorate, we expect an increase in the number of cats and dogs being surrendered, abandoned or left to starve as owners struggle to put food on the table.”
Tears, like many other animal welfare organisations, has been attempting to feed vulnerable animals through fundraising campaigns and sometimes even at their own cost during the lockdown.
“The financial aid will alleviate hardship experienced by the public and will allow Cawf to support indigent pet owners so that they will be able to continue feeding their pets and not be forced by circumstances to abandon them,” says the City’s Mayco member for safety and security and a patron of Cawf, JP Smith, in a statement.
“If we identify community members who are not in a position to feed themselves or their pets, we should stand together and see how we can assist those in need. The financial aid is but a small gesture that will go a long way in caring for our pets. I would like to thank the animal welfare organisations and volunteers for their unselfish contribution and assistance,” he adds.