Press release For immediate release 3 December 2015
DON’T BURN YOUR PET’S FEET THIS SUMMER
It’s the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful sunshine with your best friend, but not everything we do in Summer is fun and games for our pets. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is cautioning pet owners to be mindful of their pets this festive season when partaking in outdoor events.
It is, hopefully, more common knowledge by now that leaving a pet locked inside a hot car, especially during the heat of Summer, is potentially life-threatening to your pet, because of the rapid rise in temperatures and the severe repercussions this can cause – such as overheating, dehydration, brain damage and even death – but perhaps lesser known is the effect a hot day has on your pets’ paws.
Many activities that grab our attention over the Summer months in the cape are events like markets, festivals, concerts etc. – many of which take place in areas where the only ground cover is asphalt/tar. Tar surfaces can, on hot Summer days, get so increasingly hot, that pets’ paws can burn. Since dogs sweat through the pads underneath their paws, having them walk on such a hot surface is contradictory to this natural cooling mechanism.
In the heat of Summer, remember to always have fresh cool water readily available and easily accessible for your pets – whether at home or out and about. Be sure to microchip your pets (with your updated details) or have them wear a collar and ID tag; and plan your outdoor/exercise activities for cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or evenings.
So before visiting markets in and around the cape this festive season, consider your pets’ wellbeing and re-think taking them on outings where their experience is not as fun as yours.
For more information, or to report any acts of cruelty toward animals, contact the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Inspectorate on 021 700 4158/9 or after hours for emergencies on 083 326 1604.
Issued by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. For editorial queries, contact Belinda Abraham or Moyo Ndukwana on 021 700 4154/43 respectively. Alternatively email email@example.com.
Fireworks season is almost upon us, and the Cape of Good Hope (CoGH) SPCA is calling on Capetonians for a “firework free year”, following last year’s night of torture for too many animals across the Cape Metropole. Contrary to popular belief, the celebration of Guy Fawkes, albeit not a South African celebration at all, results in more than just one night of torment for animals – leading instead to weeks of suffering for many lost and injured animals.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has witnessed over the past few years, that the effects of Guy Fawkes and Diwali continue for weeks following the firework displays on both events, as many animals become so distressed at the level of noise, that they attempt to escape to a place of safety. These escape tactics can lead animals to scale high perimeter walls, get stuck in fences or storm-water drains, become victims of motor vehicle accidents, and end up wandering the streets for weeks, lost away from home – or if they’re lucky, end up at an animal shelter where organisations like the SPCA will try to reunite them with their families, often (sadly), to no avail.
The Animals Protection Act clearly states that “it is illegal for any person to terrify any animal” yet thousands of animals end up at the CoGH SPCA every year, lost and abandoned, disorientated and sometimes severely injured. The Firearms and Explosives Ordinance also makes it illegal for any child under the age of 16 to use or buy fireworks and it is illegal to use or sell fireworks without an official permit except at an officially designated site. In spite of this legislation, fireworks are still sold in many corner cafés to anyone of any age and they continue to be set off at residential homes and gardens where they cause a real danger.
Irresponsible and illegal use of fireworks, including ignoring restrictions set by the City’s By-laws, damage to property and abuse inflicted upon animals, must be reported immediately to the South African Police, whose ambit it is to enforce these laws. Any instances of animal cruelty should be reported to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Inspectorate immediately on 021 700 4158/59 or after hours and on weekends on 083 326 1604.
If you have any information relating to the illegal sale or use of fireworks please report the information to the Metro Police call centre on 0860-POLICE (765 423) or to the SAPS on 10111.
How to protect your pet from fireworks
The SPCA advises residents living in areas where fireworks will be discharged to adopt the following guidelines to help protect their pets:
Ensure all animals have identification; preferably a micro-chip or at least with a dog tag because without identification, the task of reuniting lost pets with their owners will be that much more difficult;
If possible, stay at home with them;
If you can’t be at home, keep your pets inside and preferably in a room that is safe and secure – create a small den for them with blankets, pillows and a favourite toy;
Try and mask any noise by drawing the curtains and playing calming music;
Put familiar and comforting things around them;
Give your pets a nutritious and balanced meal – this is likely to make them more sleepy;
Give them something to chew on – a chewy bone or catnip toys for cats;
If you suspect your pet will react badly to fireworks, please seek professional advice from your veterinarian who may prescribe a sedative to help them cope. There are also effective homeopathic remedies, such as PetCalm, available from the CoGH SPCA Vet Shops in Plumstead and Grassy Park that use natural ingredients to help keep your pet calm and relaxed.
Dogfighting is illegal in South Africa in terms of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962 (2) (A) but the progression of this activity to the level of organised crime makes this hard to infiltrate. We need our communities to be vigilant and to report incidences of suspected dog fighting without hesitation. You may make a report anonymously and you can be assured of our secrecy
DOG FIGHTING HARMS A SOCIETY AS MUCH AS THE DOGS INVOLVED
Dogfighting is not only a problem of cruelty to animals; dogfighting is also part of a criminal subculture that can involve other criminal activities such as illegal gambling, drug related crimes, theft as well as contributing to the destruction of communities. Illegal gambling is an inherent part of a dogfight, and because money changes hands, weapons are common on the scene.
Children are often present, and besides the inherent danger of the situation to a child, their witnessing such premeditated acts of cruelty lead to an ever growing desensitisation to violence. Dog fighting is a strong indicator of a society in decay as it promotes and encourages a culture of non-empathy.
Contrary to popular belief dogfighting, which originates in Europe, is not limited to gangsters and informal settlements, it in fact transverses all segments of the South African population.
“Street”fighters, often associated with gangs or unemployed youth, engage in dog fights that are local, informal street corner and back alley spontaneous events triggered by insults, turf invasions or simple boredom.
“Hobbyist”fighters are slightly more organized, with their average ability dogs participating in a number of organised fights a year as a side-line for both entertainment and to attempt to supplement income. They tend to breed their dogs extensively and have a ready supply of puppies for sale.
“Professional”dogfighters tend to breed, raise, train and fight their own dogs at a set location in matches arranged well in advance. They operate nationally and pay particular attention to establishing and promoting their own winning bloodlines.
Most dogs used for organised fighting purposes in South Africa are American Pit Bull Terriers. Historically bred and known for their known for their courage, loyalty, high energy levels and non-aggression towards humans. These traits, which make well-bred and well-trained pit bulls good companions, have unfortunately been exploited by a criminal element, unscrupulous breeders and by irresponsible owners and trainers who encourage unbridled aggression in their animals via both their abusive training methods and the introduction of human aggression via crossbreeding.
Abusive training/ management methods include:
Pit bull dogs that do not exhibit suitable fighting potential or are reluctant to fight sometimes have their mouths taped shut and are used as bait dogs for dogs in training. One bait animal can be used repeatedly for this purpose. A bait animal’s teeth may also be removed to prevent the fighting dog from getting injured.
Due to many of these animals being highly reactive and dog aggressive natural breeding is not possible so to breed and ensure the longevity of a bloodline and the income that this generates, an inhumane rape stand is used. This involves strapping down an unreceptive female Pitbull onto a purpose built rack so that she is unable to move or refuse a mating by a male.
Chains and Weights:Dogs have very heavy chains and weights wrapped around their necks, so that they build neck and upper body strength by constantly bearing the immense weight of the chains.
Dogs that are born, bought or stolen for fighting purposes are often neglected and abused from the start. Most spend their entire lives alone on chains or in cages, only knowing the attention of a human when they are being trained to fight, only know the company of other animals in the context of being trained to attack and kill them.
In the fight against dog fighting our Inspectorate is currently engaging with the SAPS to bring a halt to this crime and to curb the trafficking of animals to Angola and Namibia. In the last financial year alone, we investigated almost 8 000 cases of animal cruelty, many of these involved either the suspicion of dog fighting or were in response to tip-offs of dog fights in progress.
Each investigation into dogfighting carries an enormous cost but this seems insignificant when the real cruelty to animals and the risks to our children and our communities is understood. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA spends approximately, 3.2 million rand annually to investigate reports of cruelty and 3.9 million rand annually to provide veterinary care to the injured.
Costs for the average dog fight investigation are estimated as follows:
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