Animal Welfare Society of Stellenbosch

South Africa deals with a massive overpopulation of dogs and cats, many of them wandering around, as well as those who are owned, but not cared for appropriately. This creates a cycle of breeding, abuse, neglect, and the spread of diseases. The area that is affected is Stellenbosch, close to Cape Town, the Animal Welfare Society of Stellenbosch (AWSS) is a nonprofit organization that fights these issues by providing free veterinary care, spreading education as well as rescuing and homing street cats and dogs. Photographer Anna Lusty volunteered her time to record an outreach event recently, and we contacted the AWSS’s Jessica Perrins for some background information about their work.

What’s the problem you’re trying to address?

“Pet overpopulation is a severe persistent problem throughout the Western Cape, particularly the poorer communities. According to Stats SA (2011), 13.6% of households in 2011 lived in informal settlements/dwellings (shacks) in South Africa. In theIn the city of Stellenbosch alone, more than 155,000 people reside in informal settlements, and the number is growing daily.

People who live inside these slums are living in conditions of poverty and deprivation, and the animals found in these areas frequently bear evidence of this. The communities in these areas have very only a limited transportation system and are mainly without employment. They struggle to meet the essential human necessities for them, not to mention the animals that are found in these communities.

The majority of us believe pet overpopulation and the resulting abusing, neglect, surrenders to shelters for animals and the later euthanasia are avoidable issues that require a rational approach.”

What are your strategies for solving this seemingly overwhelming issue?

“Over the last 64 years, we have remained committed to our goal of recognizing animals as living creatures with the right to live a living standard. This has been achieved through vet care, inspection (enforcing legal requirements) and education. We are also conducting a successful adoption program which places hundreds of animals into happy homes every year.

Additionally, we are active in identifying the root of the problem rather than signs of the plight of the dogs in Stellenbosch by providing funding and implementing sterilization and humane education programs. We believe that continuous large-scale sterilisation efforts will in time be the answer to the issue and provide an opportunity to help other animal welfare organizations too.”

How do outreach programs perform the work Anna captured?

“Our team of veterinarians visits nearby communities to provide basic medical and veterinary care. We provide basic care for animals which includes vaccinations, tick and flea treatments, as well as deworming. There is no cost to pet owners and they can queue up to avail of these services. We also provide free sterilisations. However, this is only possible at our clinic. pets can be scheduled for. We offer over 250,000 ZAR (about $16 000 USD) in free veterinary care to our local community.

We believe that our five-point approach to outreach that includes pet sterilization as well as vaccination, dipping deworming, and humane education is an enormous benefit for both the animals as well as the human population as it helps reduce the spread of diseases that are shared (zoonosis). We have virtually eliminated the possibility of contracting rabies, leptospirosis, scabies and ringworm as well as the transfer of intestinal worms. This can pose a danger to children as it may affect their mental health.

Zoonosis’s effects are an issue we see when we conduct our township outreach programs. Children are usually affected by infections and parasites. It’s not a stretch in saying that the activity is an enormous benefit for health in the community.”

Are there any particular achievements worth noting?

” We’ve made it to these things:

  • The adoption of 1166 pets has brought them by loving homes
  • Our foster parents’ incredible efforts have saved 332 lives.
  • Animals that had been lost in the wild were brought back to their owners
  • We vaccined 5537 animals
  • We sterilised 2730 animals
  • We conducted 1454 consultations with a clinic

On average, we save two cats that are unwelcome and three unwanted pets every day.”

What can people do?

Donations and grants are the majority of community initiatives. Donations of all sizes are welcomed! If you are South African donors, you can contribute via the donor page. International donors can go to the GivenGain campaign.

If you’re curious about seeing more of Anna’s amazing work visit her website! Check out Anna Lusty – madeinmycamera to find out more. (Really you ought to, she’s incredibly talented!)

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