ONE MAN. ONE BIKE. ONE THOUSAND KILOMETERS. IN AID OF THE SPCA’s MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND ANIMAL A MONTH SURRENDER RATE
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is currently facing our toughest challenge yet! In the last financial year, we experienced a 27% increase in surrendered animal admissions and all indication are that this year will be worse than ever.
“It’s really tough” says Belinda Abraham Spokesperson for the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. “41% of the more than 2500 animals coming through our doors every month were once someone’s pet but are now no longer wanted”.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA never turns any animal away. We wouldn’t want to. We’ve seen first-hand what happens to animals when shelters who are at capacity turn them away.
The SPCA doesn’t charge people who are giving up their pets a fee to hand them in. It’s one of the many services we provide to prevent animal cruelty. We can’t and won’t allow animals to pay the price when pet owners are unable to make a financial contribution. Animals are also not turned away based on breed, temperament, behaviour, disease or injury. Every animal coming through our gates is given safe sanctuary. For whatever reason pets are no longer wanted, we know it’s not their fault.
The SPCA’s animal care facility is being placed under severe pressure by the more than 1000 unwanted animals being surrendered into our care every month.
All incoming animals must be quarantined, health checked, behaviourally assessed, fed, vaccinated, exercised, groomed, de-flea’d, dewormed and seen by a vet. Kennels must be cleaned and disinfected, litterboxes emptied, cleaned and refilled, blankets and bowls must be washed and sanitised but most importantly, little heads must be rubbed, fears must be soothed, and little hearts must be mended.
It’s estimated that this service will cost the organisation R4.6 million rand this year.
“We don’t charge for this, but it isn’t free” says Abraham. “With the festive season upon us we’ll soon we will be seeing even more animals being handed in as their owners leave to visit family and friends in other provinces or go on holiday” she says.
Thankfully one very brave man is pedalling to our rescue! Tienie Maree is participating in the Munga Grit Tankwa Challenge and he’ll be racing non-stop for 1000km (120 hours) through the arid Karoo, in summer, so that the SPCA can keep our doors wide open to every animal who no longer has a home.
Tienie says “for an animal, life on the streets means hunger, exposure to the elements, a high risk of abuse and no help if they become sick or injured. This race won’t be easy, but I’m prepared to suffer so that animals don’t have to “
It seems Tienie is prepared to do more than suffer. Munga participation comes with a dire warning issued in the race preparation documents which reads: “There is a high level of independence and self-sufficiency required. If you get bitten by a snake or have a heart attack in the middle of nowhere, there is a chance you may die! Let this sink in because when you sign up for the Grit Tankwa, you are accepting this fact!
In just under 2 weeks, Tienie undertakes this challenge globally recognised as the toughest race on earth.
For 120 hours, he’ll be far from home and its comforts, he’ll be exposed to the elements, face uncertain terrain and at times we’re sure he’ll feel quite alone.
There is a profound connection between this and the daily plight of an animal living on the streets.
We’re thankful to Tienie for challenging himself in a way that highlights both the crisis we currently find ourselves facing and the suffering of animals that will result if we don’t meet it. Tienie is taking on this incredibly tough challenge, so we can take on ours. We think he’s a hero!