Animal welfare organisations in Cape Town gear up for influx of strays over festive season

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Animal Welfare organisations say they anticipate an influx of stray, homeless and unwanted animals this festive period.
Animal Welfare organisations say they anticipate an influx of stray, homeless and unwanted animals this festive period.
  • Animal welfare organisations are gearing up for a busy festive period in anticipation of thousands of stray and unwanted animals coming through their doors.
  • The SPCA says it is expecting more than 2 000 animals this holiday season.
  • Due to the effects of Covid-19 and the lockdown, lots of owners are unable to keep up with the maintenance of their animals.

Animal welfare organisations in Cape Town are gearing for an influx of stray animals coming through their doors as the festive season draws nearer.

Over the past few years, the organisations said, they have seen a noticeable increase in the number of stray animals that were either found wandering the streets, or have been neglected by their owners because of festive celebrations.

Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham told News24 that on average, it received "more than 2 000 stray animals in December each year".

"We had a 20% increase in stray admissions in December last year, compared to December the previous year, we expect this to increase again this year," she said.

Hospital worker with rescued dog at animal shelter
Hospital staff at animal welfare organisations are expecting an influx of stray and unwanted animals.

According to the SPCA, it was on high alert to receive a flood of calls from people reporting lost or abused animals.

"Our inspectors will be on standby to collect the animals should any situation arise. We are urging pet owners to please take extra care of their pets as their festive cheer unfolds," said Abraham.

The organisation said to carry the cost of the anticipated new arrivals, it had set up a fundraising event to help with the upkeep of the animals.

"The Bag a Bargain book sale is where people can buy an SPCA bag and fill their bags with books for free. All you have to do is choose between the two SPCA fabric shopping bag sizes, which range from R60 to R100 and fill it to the brim with enough books to keep you lost in literature right throughout the summer," added Abraham.

Planning for 'big upsurge'

The funds generated will cover the costs of veterinary treatment, shelter, and food for all the animals over the holidays.

Animal lovers can fill their bags from 7 to 12 December at the SPCA Vet Shop on the corner of Timour Hall and Gabriel roads in Plumstead.

Meanwhile, The Animal Welfare Society of SA (AWS) said it had started the process of employing additional staff members to deal with the influx of stray and unwanted animals over the festive season.

Its spokesperson, Allan Perrins, said this year could be the worst the organisation would experience.

Animal shelter worker with rescued dog
The festive period will see a lot more stray animals being admitted to animal welfare organisations.

"We are planning on a big upsurge in the number of strays, homeless and unwanted animals. Due to the pandemic, lots of animal owners are not able to keep up with the maintenance of keeping their pet and therefore surrender their furry pets to us," he added.

AWS said the festive season was always its busiest time of the year.

"Over the years, [the] AWS has reliably learnt that a lot of the stray animals brought to them are family pets, but because of families going on holiday they can't afford to take the animal with them, so they bring them to us claiming that it's a stray dog," Perrins added.

AWS said it would be on the alert for any incoming animals and urged owners to make the necessary arrangements for their pets before going on holiday.

"We currently have about 25 kennels vacant for stray and homeless animal admissions and will be making more available to accommodate any critical animal cases this festive season," Perrins added.

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