Chief Executive Officer of The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS), Dr John McMullen has responded to recent claims made by Oscars Arc Director, Joanne Lefson. Lefson has labelled the welfare, who is publicly known for their compassion for all animals, as a “kill shelter” with dogs being placed on “death row”.
These accusations were made upon the launch of NKWP (No-Kill Western Province), an initiative by Oscars Arc that aims to save the lives of dogs. Here Lefson claims that The Animal Welfare Society of SA in Philippi are putting dogs down in masses because there aren’t enough homes to accommodate them. However, the content of the narrative focused more on blasting the welfare and other establishments, and less on the NKWP campaign at hand.
“I have been in the animal welfare profession for over 21 years and never before have I encountered a more hostile and vicious attack against AWS, the SPCA and AACL. We all want a “No Kill” environment, but we know this will not happen until sterilisation becomes mandatory”, says Allan Perrins from the Animal Welfare Society of SA.
The Animal Welfare Society read this statement in pure disbelief and McMullen called it a “fatally flawed narrative” that omitted important information in order to portray the welfare in a negative light.
“You state that the vast majority of adoptable dogs surrendered to certain shelters are killed due to space and time constraints. This generalisation does not apply to us. It is common cause that we have had dogs and puppies in our care for up to 3 years before finding them loving forever homes and we have never been over-subscribed.
“Your continued reference to us as a “high-kill” shelter with dogs on “death row” is devoid of any truth and respect for the dignity of those animals waiting to be relieved of their pain and suffering and utterly disrespectful to our compassionate team,” McMullen wrote.
Even though Lefson has described how Oscars Arc has “pulled” 567 dogs from the welfare previously, McMullen cited the reasons for discontinuing transferring dogs and puppies to Oscars Arc, which were outlined as:
- The positive performance of our newly appointed Animal Care Centre Supervisor.
- Your selection criteria (cherry-picking) that almost always precluded our senior
residents and dogs with special needs.
- Your return policy.
- Your poor pre and post home check policy.
- Your lack of enforcement of sterilisation of puppies adopted intact.
- Your apparent inability to make a reasonable contribution of more than R350
towards the cost of sterilisation and vaccination of any selected dogs.
These accusations have, however, not deterred grateful pet owners, who have pledged their support to the shelter by praising their outstanding work. One Facebook supporter described the welfare as “our doggy heroes” while another couldn’t believe the “audacity to discredit the organisations that do the actual hard work and rescue.”
“To throw stones at organisations faced with putting down animals is in our opinion an act of outrageous ignorance. Acquiescence wasn’t an option thus our decision to draft and send a no-nonsense rebuttal that has resonated in no small way with animal lovers everywhere”, added Allan.
These grateful supporters (along with many others online) were not wrong, as can be seen in the actions of The Animal Welfare Society of SA, who recently dispatched an eight-member search and rescue team to Jim se Bos informal settlement to find injured animals amongst the scorched and blackened remains.
They found a severely burnt cat cowering under a scorched and soggy mattress and gently scooped her up and raced her back to the Animal Welfare Society hospital for life-saving treatment. They shortly reported that the cat, who they named Tracey “is responding well to treatment”. The image below showcases Animal Care Centre Supervisor Lawrence Nkotha embracing a healthy-looking (and grateful) Tracey.
The core business of the Animal Welfare Society of SA is the provision of veterinary services to the less fortunate and the prevention of cruelty to animals but they also pride themselves on offering a vibrant adoption service that has blossomed under the Animal Care Centre Supervisor Lawrence Nkotha’s leadership.