The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha has recorded a sharp increase in dog abandonments since the implementation of lockdown level 3. The clinic say this is an unusual increase.
“During lockdown we barely had any pet handovers. We found this quite strange. Due to the economic state and people losing their jobs, we were expecting increased handovers during this time. We believed the decrease in handovers was due to people being at home more and having time to bond with their pets,” says Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager. “However, as soon as lockdown level 3 came into effect, the pets started pouring in. We are not sure what changed. We can only think that the economic impact has now taken a great toll, forcing people to handover their animals as they can no longer look after them.”
Within the last week, the clinic received many mommy dogs with multiple puppies and many others, which has brought the shelter facility to capacity. The situation is under even more strain following the past weekend’s severe weather, which flooded their shelter unit.
“When it rains it pours in Khayelitsha. Our shelter and office flooded. Our homeless dogs were all moved into our hospital facility until the water dries up. This, however, puts strain on our hospital space as we are full to the brim with patients,” says du Plessis.
The clinic sees a boost in pet patients during the wintertime due to hypothermia and broken bones from reckless drivers knocking dogs over in bad weather.
“Our expenses always increase in winter – we need to have lights on longer, heaters on to keep the pets warm and more pet patients, but with the unexpected abandonments, it is even higher.”
It costs the clinic around R1500 to care for an abandoned pet in its first month. Many stay much longer than this.
The animal clinic is calling on the public to assist during this time. If you are able to help care for the abandoned pets, please make a donation to Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account number: 075595710, Branch: Rondebosch, Branch Code: 025009, Savings account, Reference: Winter +Your Name.
The clinic has also asked people to open their homes to foster animals. This will open space in their shelter facility to take in more animals in need instead of directing them to other animal welfare organisations.
Also read: Help keep township animals warm this winter