China pushes draft law to reclassify dogs as pets, not livestock

China pushes draft law to reclassify dogs as pets, not livestock

The move follows a total ban on the consumption and trade of dogs and cats in Shenzhen at the beginning of April. The Humane Society has dubbed the measure a “potential game changer.”

Animal rights groups are praising China following the introduction of a draft law to reclassify dogs as pets, rather than livestock. 

“As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilization and the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been ‘specialized’ to become companion animals, and internationally are not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China,” read a statement issued by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

Livestock animals are defined as those that can be bred for food, milk, fur, fiber and medicine. 

The draft guidelines, which the Humane Society, an international NGO working for animal rights, dubbed a “potential game changer,” have been opened to the public for consultation and define 18 traditional livestock species, including cows, pigs, chickens and camels.

The ministry also listed 13  “special” species that would be exempt from animal trading restrictions, including reindeer, pheasants, alpaca, foxes and ostriches. 

The move is part of a series of steps that China has taken to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. 

China’s animal trade has been blamed as the origin of the coronavirus, as the virus is believed to have originated at a wet market in Wuhan, selling a variety of animals and meat including bats and porcupines and other rare species.

The virus is believed to have originated in horseshoe bats, which then passed the virus to humans through intermediary species, possibly pangolins, which were sold at the market.

Last month, China banned the sale, breeding, trading and consumption of wild animals, citing the possibility that diseases can be spread from animals to people.

Meanwhile, the city of Shenzhen, with a population of almost 13 million, passed a law last week banning the consumption of dogs, cats, and other animals. The move marked the first time a Chinese city has specifically banned dog consumption. 

The Humane Society’s international director Wendy Higgins said this was “incredibly encouraging.”

“This is the first time the national government in China has explicitly explained why dogs… are excluded from the official livestock list, stating that these are companion animals and not for eating,” she added.

Dogs are considered a delicacy in some parts of China. The city of Yulin in the Guangxi region holds an annual dog meat festival in June.

The Humane Society estimates that around 10 million dogs are killed each year for the country’s dog meat trade. 

lc/rg (Reuters, AFP) 

China pushes draft law to reclassify dogs as pets, not livestock

The ‘festival’

The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, held every year in a small town in the largely rural and poor Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, sees thousands of canines butchered and eaten. The controversial event, which opened on June 21, is ostensibly held to mark the summer solstice.

Culture or business?

Locals say that eating dog meat is no different from pork and is traditional during the summertime. But animal rights activists claim the festival has no cultural value and was merely created to boost business.


Criticism is mounting against the mass slaughter of dogs. “We came to Yulin to tell people that dogs are our friends,” says Yang Yuhua, an animal rights activist. “We cannot cruelly kill them.” According to a poll, two thirds of Chinese demand an end to the dog meat festival. Here, animal rights activists protest against the Yulin festival in front of the Chinese embassy in Los Angeles.

Saving dogs

Activists sometimes buy dogs to save them from the cooking pots. In 2015, dog lover Yang Xiaoyun traveled from her hometown, Tianjin, in northern China to Yulin and spent about 7,000 yuan (944 euros) buying up 100 dogs at a market to save them. Here, dogs purchased by activists to rescue them from dog meat dealers, are kept in a temporary shelter.


In 2015, the Yulin government distanced itself from the festival and announced new restrictions. Traders would no longer be permitted to slaughter dogs in public, place carcasses on display or serve meals outdoors, it said. But there is no law against eating dog meat in China. Here, vendors sell dog meat at a market.


As many as 10 million dogs are believed to be killed for their meat annually in China, with up to 10,000 killed for the Yulin festival, according to the Washington-based Humane Society. While much of the meat comes through legitimate farms, many dog slaughterhouses are run privately and secretively to avoid scrutiny by food-safety inspectors.

‘The festival will go on’

Li Yongwei, a Yulin resident, told the AFP news agency that dog was the same as any other meat. “You shouldn’t force people to make choices they don’t want to make, the way you wouldn’t force someone to be a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim,” he said. “The festival will go on. Young people, old people, even babies are all eating dog meat. It’s tradition,” said another resident.

Popular across Asia

Dog meat remains a popular dish in other Asian countries such as Vietnam where it is considered to be an aphrodisiac. Over the past few years, an illegal dog meat trade has flourished across Asia worth millions of dollars, which critics say is unnecessarily cruel and carries a rising risk to public health. According to estimates, 30 million dogs are eaten every year across Asia.


Pet hotel takes in homeless people’s dogs

Pet hotel takes in homeless people’s dogs

As the province and the world battles the coronavirus outbreak, homeless people are being left with even less to keep themselves afloat.

For many spending their days on the streets, dogs are a source of happiness that they go out of their way to provide for. Amid the outbreak they have had to abandon their pets as they are not allowed at lockdown shelters.

Local pet hotel, AtFrits is making sure the treasured animals of Cape Town’s homeless are not alone.

“With the Cape Town Pet Upliftment Project (CTPUP), AtFrits will also care for the animals of the homeless that were a part of our joint initiative with the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Identipet and de Waal Park. All these dogs are up to date with their vaccinations, are micro chipped and also sterilised, thanks to the support of you, the Cape Town Community. The homeless will receive shelter at the specific shelters and AtFrits will care for their four legged friends who will not be granted access to these shelters,” said Yanic Klue, owner of AtFrits Pet Hotel.

Since the lockdown, many residents have been concerned about the pets of homeless people and AtFrits has come to the rescue. Even before the lockdown their joint initiative with Cape of Good Hope SPCA and Identipet has been giving homeless animal-owners hope.

Pet-owners can now paw it forward by purchasing a voucher at AtFrits for a disadvantaged person on the last Saturday of every month. The voucher can be redeemed at the SPCA mobile unit in De Waal Park. This initiative aims to have all of the homeless dogs in Cape Town chipped, vaccinated and cared for.

During the lockdown, AtFrits will also act as a foster home for NGOs who are effected by the lockdown.

“We aren’t doing this for PR, we truly care about the animals and want to see that they are looked after,” says Klue.

City of Cape Town ward councilor, Brandon Golding says the hotel’s help is greatly appreciated at this time.

“I would like to thank Yanic and her staff for their great contribution during this time. Today, the first pets were dropped at the atFrits Hotel during the initial relocations. More will follow in the coming days. Please note that AtFrits are doing this at their own cost,” said Golding.

As the lockdown continues, Capetonians can take comfort in the fact that no dog will go without while AtFrits continues their efforts.

Source: Cape{town}etc

Can I transmit Covid-19 to my cat?

Can I transmit Covid-19 to my cat

Here is what we know so far: 

The COVID-19 pandemic presents us all with unprecedented challenges; and local, regional, and national governments are taking steps to slow its spread as researchers investigate ways to prevent and treat infections.

Many cat owners have asked us about the possibility of transmitting this virus to their cats, and whether their cats could potentially infect people.  Here is some information to help you stay informed, vigilant, and safe.

As we continue to learn more, it’s important to note that since cats and dogs are mammals, the possibility of human-to-cat transmission, and vice versa, does technically exist.

For this reason, anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should limit their contact with their pets, and wash their hands before and after interacting with them, which includes cleaning their litter boxes.

If you notice your pet experiencing respiratory illness or fever, we recommend (out of an abundance of caution) to quarantine them, wash your hands carefully before and after handling them, and contact a veterinarian immediately to consult about best next steps.

It is very important that cat owners understand that the current situation warrants caution, but that they should not seek COVID-19 testing for their cats, given the shortage of tests available for humans. It’s also important to point out that currently available information suggests that if precautions are taken, the likelihood of cats becoming infected and of them serving as a source of COVID-19 infection is believed to be very low.

Some trusted resources for additional information can be found here:

Source: Cornell University – Cornell Feline Health Center


6 questions pet owners are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic

6 questions pet owners are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ziggy looks out the window of his Maplewood, New Jersey, home as his owner sews masks for health care workers. (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

Many pet owners are spending a lot more time at home these days, and they have lots of questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their animals and their daily activities. Here are some answers.

Can pets get or spread COVID-19?

6 questions pet owners are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic

Two women walk past a billboard showing cats and dogs urging social distancing on April 4 in Berlin. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Two pet cats in New York are the first confirmed cases of the coronavirus in pets in the U.S. The cats, both of which have recovered, live in different areas of the state and have been tested by multiple agencies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prior to that, there had been reports that two dogs in Hong Kong and a cat in Belgium were infected with COVID-19.

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo also tested positive for the virus, the first known case of a non-domesticated animal showing symptoms of COVID-19. The tiger and other big cats that also contracted the virus likely contracted the coronavirus in early April from an asymptomatic zookeeper, according to National Geographic.

However, infectious disease experts and human and animal health organizations agree there’s still no evidence the pets spread the virus to people.

The World Organisation for Animal Health says there’s no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of this disease or that they become sick. The CDC agrees, stating “At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19.”

Experts believe the pets in Europe may have tested positive due to “environmental contamination” of their snouts. The germs could have been living on the animal’s nose or mouth, just like they can live on other surfaces like a doorknob or a countertop.

A research article originally published online in bioRxiv and later published in the journal Science in April raised concern because it suggested that cats and ferrets might be able to become infected with the virus and then transmit it to other animals. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) points out that the original research involved only a small number of animals and the way subjects are infected with a virus in a research setting does not mirror how infections happen naturally. Another preprint looked at whether cats in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began, developed antibodies to the virus.

The AVMA recommends that pet owners without symptoms wash hands before and after handling food, waste or supplies for their pets. Owners who have COVID-19 should restrict contact with pets, just like they would with people “out of an abundance of caution.”

Can I still go to the vet (and should I)?

It depends on what your pet needs. The American Veterinary Medical Association issued suggested strategies for veterinarians that include limiting in-patient appointment to emergencies and critical care. They suggested veterinarians abide by social distancing guidelines with humans (at least six feet) when discussing care.

Many practices are only allowing one client in the office at a time, while others are sending an employee — wearing a gown, mask and gloves — out to a car to pick up the pet. The doctor then calls the client to talk about a diagnosis and treatment options.

6 questions pet owners are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic

Veterinarian Will Draper consults with a client with help from his dog, Frankie. (Photo: The Village Vets)

That’s what veterinarian Will Draper of The Village Vets is doing at his three metro Atlanta practices. Staff veterinarians are seeing patients for time-sensitive issues like rabies vaccinations and critical surgeries, while putting off spays, neuters and annual visits.

“We’re still seeing as much as we can within reason while still maintaining the balance of keeping our team and our clients healthy,” Draper tells MNN.

He’s also ramped up telemedicine, virtually seeing as many pets as he can for ailments like ear infections and rashes.

They try to keep all human clients out of the clinic but have many a handful of exceptions, most notably when pets have had to be euthanized.

“We’ve put a long IV in and will stand there six feet away while we give the medication,” Draper says. “That way we can allow the owner to be there with their pet.”

Is my dog stressed out?

6 questions pet owners are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dogs have subtle ways of telling us they are stressed out. In a situation like this pandemic, their stress might be revealed by unusual and unexplained episodes of diarrhea. (Photo: naeg/Shutterstock)

Your dog or cat didn’t sign up to be a therapy pet, but they are likely helping shore up your mental health these days. You might think all that extra cuddling and petting is a great thing for them, but our pets definitely pick up on our emotions. When we’re stressed, they can get stressed too.

Their routines have changed and they might act out behaviorally or with physical symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.

“Getting into things they shouldn’t is a top phone call we’ve been receiving,” Dr. Heidi Sutcliffe of Norwell Veterinary Hospital told WBZ-TV. “Surfing counters, getting into the trash, destructive behavior, pent up energy and not being able to settle down are all signs they may be stressed.”

To help keep your pet’s world relatively normal, it’s important to maintain your routines, certified dog trainer and behaviorist Susie Aga of Atlanta Dog Trainer tells MNN. Try to feed your pets and go for walks the same time you normally would. If you have kids and normally have playtime when the kids come home from school, keep that same time reserved for fun with your pet.

How can I prevent my dog from getting separation anxiety?

6 questions pet owners are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic

Let your dog practice coping skills by having him ‘place’ on a bed or mat. (Photo: Mary Jo DiLonardo)

You’re spending a lot more quality time with your pet than normal and you both probably enjoy it immensely. But when the world rights itself and things go back to normal, it’s going to be tough — especially if you have a dog that has become used to you being there all day. If you go back to your old pre-coronavirus routine, there’s a chance your pet will develop separation anxiety.

There are things you can do now to prevent that from happening, says trainer Aga.

She suggests teaching your dog a “place” command on a mat, rug or bed. Your dog can do whatever he wants on that bed (sit, roll, lie down) as long as he stays on it. Start with a minute, then let him hop off. Then add a minute or so each time. Leave the room, come back in, pick up something, all while your dog is on his special spot.

Another option is to put up a see-through baby gate, keeping your dog in a nearby room as you walk past often. Give them interactive toys or peanut butter-filled Kongs to keep them busy. Start with just a few minutes at a time. If you don’t have the room and live in a studio apartment, try stepping out the front door for a minute or two.

“You’re teaching your dog how to have coping skills,” Aga says. “Eventually they’ll just relax and lay down, knowing they’re OK.”

It’s also important to keep routines. Try to feed your pets and go for walks the same time you normally would. If you have kids and normally have playtime when the kids come home from school, keep that same time reserved for fun with your pet.

If you go for walks, sometimes go without your dog so he can practice being alone. And when you get home, don’t make a big deal about being reunited.

“Downplay arrivals,” Aga says. “It’s a good five minutes before I acknowledge my dogs when I get home. In that high excitement, they need to be taught coping skills and how to deal with isolation.”

And it’s also OK to have other alone time too.

“Your dog has to learn that it’s acceptable to close the bathroom door,” Aga says. “It’s really about teaching them to be able to be OK by themselves while you’re home with them.”

Is there a dog food shortage?

6 questions pet owners are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic

There were initial concerns about dog food availability. (Photo: Ekaterina Markelova/Shutterstock)

Early on, when people were stocking up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer, there were reports of some people buying pet food by the pallet. Now, some pet owners report having a hard time finding food for their animals. Some people say they’ve had to switch brands because they can’t find their pet’s usual food in stock anywhere. Others report driving all over to find specific brands. Even online pet retail giant Chewy has a homepage note saying, “Due to high demand, current delivery times are running considerably longer than usual on food and supplies.”

But call around or look online. Most big pet supply retailers and independent pet stores offer curbside pickup and local delivery. Anecdotal accounts find that it often takes just a few days for most places to restock. Some brands take longer than others, so ask when you’re calling around.

If you decide to switch foods, don’t wait until you’re already out of your pet’s regular food. Do it gradually, substituting a small portion of the new food for the old food each day.

Can I still take my dog to day care or for grooming?

6 questions pet owners are asking during the COVID-19 pandemic

Non-emergency needs like a basic bath can be handled at home, but many doggie daycares remain open during the pandemic because front-line workers still need these services. (Photo: Jim Vallee/Shutterstock)

Technically, that depends on where you live. It seems that most cities, states and counties with stay-at-home or other ordinances requiring people to only go out for essential reasons don’t consider grooming to be essential. The exception would be if a dog was heavily matted and needed to be shaved for medical reasons, Draper suggests.

Doggy day care centers are typically considered essential, along with animal shelters and boarding kennels because they serve essential workers, among others, who need a place for their pets to go while they work.

“It’s really nice that we’re able to offer those services to people who work odd hours, people in the health care industry, people in manufacturing, firemen, police, things like that,” owner Amy Forrester of Stay Dog Day Care and Boarding in Cleveland told News 5 Cleveland. “I would say about 80% of the dogs that are being dropped off right now belong to health care workers and other essential workers that are still going to work every day, and then about 20% are like, ‘Hey man, get my dog out of the house.'”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information since it was first published in April 2020.


Whiskas – let’s raise a paw to our furry friends


From bouts of cabin fever and social isolation to financial concerns, work stress and relationship struggles, we can all agree that life in quarantine is not easy. But, with a little perspective, now is as good a time as ever to find the silver lining in this tough situation, and for many of us, that’s our pets.

The benefits of pets are widely known and are proving to be especially important during this stressful time. Whiskas, SA’s favourite cat food brand, agrees that our pets, especially our feline companions, can keep us sane during times of crises. As cat lovers, it’s time to raise a paw to our furry friends.

But what is it about owning and spending time with our cats that help us better navigate these strange times and how can we make sure we keep our them happy and healthy in return? 

Sensitive social support

For many of us, cats provide social support. On bad days, they lend their inquisitive ears and offer intuitive support. People talking to their pets to work out their feelings, while gaining a feeling of companionship is a common theme among proud cat owners. Pets also add routine, responsibility and social activity to otherwise dreary days.

The power of cuddles

Beyond the emotional support, the power of a good cat cuddle has also been proven. Cuddling your cat releases oxytocin in your body, the hormone known for inducing feelings of love and trust. Similar to humans, cats are social creatures and like us, crave love and attention. This feeling of connection and love is especially important at this time of social distancing and could very well help see us through the darker moments.

There are some physical health benefits as well. Close physical interactions with cats is said to boost our immune systems, while several studies have found that people reported sleeping better with their pet cat. Petting and cuddling with a cat also have a positive and calming effect on our bodies – it can contribute towards stress relief, act as a mood booster and provides a positive distraction.

Cats are generally low-maintenance, which must also go a little way towards easing our stresses at this time. This shows that while they are lending us their full emotional support, physical benefits can be counted too.

Finally, let them entertain you!

Felines are certainly one of the mavericks of the pet kingdom and masters of making us smile, and the Whiskas team agrees. Whether it’s finding wacky hideouts, sleeping in weird positions or getting up to general mischief, all these cat quirks can go a long way to lighten the overall mood during lockdown.

What can we do in return?

There are mutual benefits to having a close relationship with your pet cat. Giving love and affection is as good for them as it is for us. Talk to your cats, hug them tight, play with them, pet them from head to toe and let them snuggle and purr to their heart’s delight. This can work wonders for the health and well-being of pets and owners alike.

We can also return their companionship by simply looking after their physical and mental health in whatever way we can. Regular vet check-ups, not to mention daily cuddles, can go a long way to maintaining the health and wellbeing of your feline friend. Good dental health is also important and has been shown to have a big effect on the overall health of your feline for now and into the long term.

Treat your kitties to Whiskas Dentabites in Salmon or Chicken flavour. The tiny grooves on Whiskas® DentaBites gently clean the tooth surface as the cat’s teeth contact the crunchy treats. They’re a compliance-friendly way to provide daily proactive oral care for even the most independent, strong-willed cats.

We can all be grateful that our felines provide us with the love and distraction needed to keep us going during this time and Whiskas are happy to help you return some of the love.

For more information on Whiskas care and treats,

Source: WHISKAS®

Other posts by WHISKAS®

Cost implications of getting a cat or dog


Excerpt from The Future cost implications of your purchases

If you’re tightening up your budget and trying to cut costs, you may be regretting some of your past purchases – especially if they continue to cost you money every month. When making large purchases, we very often fail to take into consideration the future costs of the purchase, and it’s in times like these that these costs can come back to bite us. Let’s have a look at the future associated costs of some purchases.

Cats and dogs

Owning a dog or cat can be an emotional and financial commitment of up to 20 years, and many people tend to underestimate the costs of owning and caring for pets. Over and above of the cost of a pet, it’s the ongoing food, medical and associated costs that should be factored into your budget, together with not-so-obvious costs such as parasite control, x-rays, treatment for skin disorders and kennelling costs.

The long-term costs of owning a pet are difficult to quantify although they can run into tens of thousands of rands over the lifetime of the animal. Puppies need to be vaccinated at 6, 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age, and then again at 12 months, and all of these veterinary appointments cost money. In addition to vaccinations, a dog requires deworming, pet identification and even micro-chipping at a cost of around R450. All the costs of owning a dog add up and can include items such as blankets, beds, kennels, bowls, leashes, muzzles, collars and toys.

Where a dog is fed a raw food diet, expect to pay around R40 per kilogram of food. For top-end dry dog pellets, you will pay around R850 for a 12 kg bag, with these costs increasing as the food becomes more specialised, for instance, low-fat options and pellets for joint health. External parasite control is also expensive, with tick and flea tablets retailing at R380 for a large dog which needs to be administered annually.

Vet consultations are around R400, x-rays can cost around R700, a course of anti-inflammatories around R500 and anti-biotics about R400. Although a once-off expense, neutering and sterilising should be factored into your budget and usually costs between R500 and R2 500 per animal. Puppy and socialisation classes cost anywhere between R60 and R80 per class, while grooming costs about R180 for a large dog.

If you are going away and need to kennel your dog, expect to pay between R110 and R180 per day for a large dog. The pet healthcare industry has expanded and many ailments that afflict dogs can be treated with alternative therapies including water treadmill therapy, laser therapy, acupuncture and even homoeopathy. With rising costs of veterinary care, many pet owners opt for pet medical insurance with costs in the region of R170 per cat and R320 per dog, with a minimum excess of R350 per event.

By: Devon Card – Crue Invest (Pty) Ltd

Spot Cape Town’s Chameleons

The City of Cape Town is encouraging residents to keep a special eye out for the Cape Dwarf Chameleon, which is classified as a vulnerable species. This will assist the City in tracing where these chameleons occur. To participate, residents need to download the iNaturalist app.

Spot Cape Town’s chameleons

With the onset of autumn, the Cape Dwarf Chameleon, also known as Trapsuutjies in Afrikaans, should be delivering offspring ahead of the rains, which usually occur around this time of year. Residents should therefore look out for baby chameleons, which tend to be brown in colour and at birth, can fit on the tip of one’s forefinger, but soon grow much bigger. Cape Dwarf Chameleons give live birth to between five to 15 babies at a time. Newborns then drop and stick to vegetation, after which they are immediately self-sufficient.

The grown Cape Dwarf Chameleons vary in shades of green, and grey with their average maximum length around 14 cm. Those in denser, closed vegetation areas tend to be larger and brightly coloured. The Cape Dwarf Chameleon’s tongue can be as long or even longer than its body and has been recorded to shoot out at a speed of 20km/h to catch prey. They feed primarily on small insects and drink by licking dew or rain drops from leaves or other surfaces.

Spot Cape Town’s chameleons

‘Residents will have better luck in finding these creatures on warmer days. Being cold-blooded, they are more active when the sun is out and are likely to be found taking shelter deeper in vegetation on cold and windy days. Anyone interested to assist the City in tracing where these chameleons reside in Cape Town, can join the survey by uploading a photo of the chameleon found on the iNaturalist app or website. Residents are reminded to please respect the lockdown rules, and to remain on their properties while on the lookout for the Cape  Dwarf Chameleons,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

A common misconception is that chameleons change their colour for camouflage to blend into the environment. When, in fact, chameleons change colour as a way of expressing mood and communicating. They also turn a darker colour to absorb more heat or a very pale pastel colour to reflect light and absorb less heat.

Spot Cape Town’s chameleons

‘If residents have difficulty finding them during the day, doing the survey at night with a bright torch could be a better option and a more adventurous activity for the kids. The Cape Dwarf Chameleon tends to be near the tips of branches at night and appears as a pale milky colour in the torch light,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

The following link can be used when uploading findings:

The Cape Dwarf Chameleon’s historical habitat has become severely fragmented due to urbanisation and agricultural transformation. Additional losses are expected to occur because of rapid climatic change.

Once again, we are reminded of how incredibly diverse and special the biodiversity is in Cape Town.

The City asks that residents record their findings but refrain from moving chameleons from their suitable habitats; they are also never to be kept in captivity. By simply checking the garden refuse and vegetation while pruning, one can prevent these chameleons from accidentally being transported to a landfill site.

Source: City of Cape Town

Number of pets being dumped rises during Covid-19 pandemic

It is advised that in the event you become ill and are unable to take care of your pet, have a backup care giver ready to assist.

Number of Pets being dumped due to Covid-19 rises

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

SECUNDA – With the Covid-19 outbreak worldwide, a plea from animal welfare organisations is for pet owners not to abandon, dump or kill animals due to rumours that the animals may carry the virus.

Abandonment is a crime in South Africa. If for whatever reason you cannot care for your pet, rather contact your local organisations to help make a plan.

According to WHO (World Health Organisation), there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit Covid-19.

It is advised that in the event of you become ill and are unable to take care of your pet, have a backup care-giver ready to assist.

“As fundraising opportunities are limited in the next few weeks we will all depend on financial donations to feed and care for the animals. Since we all have time, please learn more about the organisations and what they do,” said Ms Ancois van Zyl, a local animal welfare activist and representative of Feral Watch and TNR.

Feral Watch will continue to feed the feral colonies in the area under strict regulations. If you do go to the local vets for an emergency, you can drop extra food for organisations there. Just specify for whom you are leaving the donation.

Feral Watch and TNR, as well as the Highveld Ridge SPCA have bins at the Pick n Pay in the Secunda Mall.

The various local animal welfare organisations commented on their activities during the national lockdown.

Because Dogs & Co. said that they will not do any house checks or take or collect animals to or from previous owners or new owners or foster parents during the national lockdown.

“You can still apply for adoptions and ask for photos. We will continue with the process after lockdown. Emergencies will still be handled.”

In the event of your pet falling ill or being injured, contact your local vet beforehand to find out trading times and to what procedures need to be followed before taking your pet into the vet.

We want to assure the public that we are not stopping our operations and we will be helping the animals the same way we always do. We qualify as essential services and as such, we have been placed on the Joint Operations Committee with our local police station.

We have stringent controls in place to ensure the safety not only of the members of our organisation, but also with the human guardians of the animals we assist and protect.”

Here are emergency numbers for all vets and animal welfare organisations in our area:

Highveld Ridge SPCA 082 869 2350 or 082 222 1122

Bethal SPCA 072 573 3122 or 066 397 1630

Eendedam Dierekliniek 082 202 1190

Secunda Animal Hospital 072 549 0993

Syrmia Veterinary Hospital 017 631 2580

Evander Dierekliniek 076 533 4124

Feral Watch and TNR 082 781 9435

Because dogs and Co 081 013 4952

Little Paws Big Hearts 065 989 3149.

If you would like to make a donation to animal welfare organisations please go visit the orginisation’s Facebook page or contact them directly for banking details.


For more Animal Welfare Organisations in South Africa please visit Charity Directory

Practical Ways to Help Vets During COVID-19

In the past week, several pet owners have asked me how they can help veterinarians during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. I found myself at a loss for words. To be honest, I was humbled to even be asked such a compassionate question. After all, I’m not fighting on the proverbial frontline of this real and devastating disease. I’m simply doing my job to care for sick cats and dogs. I tip my hat to the human doctors, nurses, technologists, first responders, truck drivers, One Health researchers, grocery store team members, pharmacists & pharmacy technicians, and so many more who are helping all of us get through this scary situation. With that being said, I’ve since thought about that original question. Here are some easy and practical ways pet owners can help veterinary teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks for reading!


Practical Way #1 – Be Flexible

Veterinary team members are working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Veterinarians took oaths to “to promote animal health and welfare…” and “relieve animal suffering…” Due to COVID-19, many local and state governments have placed temporary limitations and restrictions on businesses, including veterinary hospitals. Veterinary hospitals have had to alter the methods by which they offer animal care. They’ve had to modify their standard operating procedures to both meet the needs of our patients and protect their teams. After all, veterinarians also swore oaths to “protect the health of the public and environment…”

Most veterinary hospitals have switched to curbside service. Why? To protect team members from the public. Pet owners aren’t allowed inside hospitals. Veterinary team members come outside to owners’ vehicles to get pets. Owners remain in their vehicles while veterinarians examine pets inside hospitals. Veterinarians then call owners to relay their concerns, findings, and recommendations. Is this the new norm of service in veterinary hospitals? Of course not. It’s temporary but necessary to allow veterinary teams to continue safely caring for their patients. Flexibility of pet owners with these temporary protocols is truly appreciated during this unique time.


Practical Way #2 – Be Kind

Like I said earlier, these are unprecedented times. Most of us have never lived through anything like this. All of us are trying to keep our heads above water. We’re juggling family, work, and all of the complex responsibilities that come with daily life. To say stress levels are at all time highs is an understatement. A lot of folks are on edge. Our mental and physical health are really being challenged. So, here’s my ask. Remember veterinary team members are facing many of the same stressors you are.

Too often, we are careless with our words. They fly from our mouths without thought. Once said, words can never be taken back. Yes, we can forgive. It’s often much more difficult to forget. When we share kind words with each other – gentle and compassionate words of appreciation, gratitude, and support – we should cling to these beautiful truths and let those who breathed that healing know we appreciate their thoughtfulness. Seems practical, right?

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Leo Buscaglia


Practical Way #3 – Stay Home if Your Pet Isn’t Sick

In municipalities around the country, temporary restrictions on medical and dental procedures have been instituted by local and state agencies. For example, in Nebraska, the governor has temporarily banned elective veterinary surgeries. While veterinary hospitals are generally considered essential businesses, many teams have split into smaller working groups with limited schedules to reduce their potential exposure to COVID-19. As such, veterinarians are prioritizing patients that need to be urgently seen over ones that need only preventive care.

What does this mean for you as a pet owner? Unless your pet is sick, stay home. Your cat’s annual exam can wait until the pandemic is over. Your dog’s vaccines can be postponed until the restrictions are lifted. Many of you are currently at home more than usual. You’re looking at and interacting with your pets a lot more, and you’re noticing things. But, not all of those things are urgent health matters.

Resist the urge to use those non-urgent pet matters as an excuse to leave your house to visit your veterinarian. For the love of all that is holy, do not bring your pet in for a nail trim. Walk your dog more frequently – while practicing social distancing – to help them wear down their nails. Allow veterinarians and their teams to dedicate time to the pets that are truly in need of veterinary medical attention. Pretty practical, right?


The wrap-up…

We’re all currently living in uncertain times. Yet, I have no doubt we’ll get through them. We’ll beat COVID-19 through adherence to guidelines from infectious disease and public health experts combined with practicing human kindness, generosity, and decency. Until next week, practice social distancing, be well, and stay safe!

Wishing you wet-nosed kisses,




TEARS Animal Rescue Issues Urgent Covid-19 Pet Food Appeal to Assist Vulnerable Communities

Tears Covid-19 Pet food appeal

Cape Town ~ Following the announcement of the COVID-19 Lockdown and the economic impact on low income communities, TEARS Animal Rescue has launched a COVID-19 Pet Food Appeal to Cape Town based manufacturers to donate surplus edible pet food in response to the increase in requests from pet owners living in vulnerable communities as they struggle to feed their pets.

Says TEARS Animal Rescue General Manager, Lauren Carlyle, “We  cannot underestimate the impact that the COVID-19 Lockdown is having on the most vulnerable members of our society, and have therefore launched a Province-wide appeal to address what is fast becoming an animal welfare crisis. The reality is that many people have been retrenched or been put on unpaid leave for the next three weeks, which has dire consequences on the people living on or near the breadline. We’re receiving dozens of pleas for help from pet owners in vulnerable communities who say they won’t be able to feed their pets over the coming weeks.

TEARS issued a statement as part of a strategic communication campaign at the beginning of March, to emphasise the fact that animals have no direct connection with the spreading of the COVID-19 virus. Despite this, an increasing number of people have started to dump their pets after the release of fake news and misinformation surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic. This, coupled with the fact that economic downturns always result in increased rates of pet neglect, starvation and abandonment, means that the organisation will remain on high-alert over the Lockdown period to support animals in need.  In 2018 over 500 cats and dogs were surrendered or picked-up as strays by TEARS, and last year this number increased to 683.

“Based on our experience, and as conditions continue to deteriorate, we expect to see a massive increase in the number of cats and dogs being surrendered, abandoned or left to starve as owners struggle to feed their own families. Dogs that are restrained on ropes and chains, to provide some sense of security to their owners, are often left without adequate food and care, and will most likely die slow and painful deaths, either from starvation or disease; and most often, both,’ says Carlyle.

Registered as an essential service during the Lockdown, and with its established infrastructure and operational footprint in low income communities in the Southern Peninsula of the Western Cape (namely Vrygrond, Ocean View, Redhill, and Masiphumelele), TEARS is able to collect and redistribute all pet food donations it receives to address the most critical needs in the communities it serves. Any surplus will be shared with other animal welfare organisations across Cape Town.

Says TEARS Operations Manager, Mandy Store, “We will be contacting our suppliers and partners directly with a request for assistance. All pet food donations received will be distributed to community leaders for redistribution in impoverished communities. We’ll work closely with other animal welfare organisations across Cape Town to make sure we’re able to coordinate a collective response to the increasing demand for assistance across the Province .”

While TEARS Animal Rescue will remain closed to the public for the duration of the Lockdown, it will continue to ambulance sick and injured companion animals, and rescue stray and abandoned pets within its operational footprint. In the case of emergencies only please call or SMS 071 864 4849.


Tears - Snap Scan


Lauren Carlyle
Cell: 078 444 9952
Email: [email protected]

Mandy Store
Call: 073 525 9191
Email: [email protected]

Lara Black
Cell: 083 326 1168
Email: [email protected]

TEARS ANIMAL RESCUEMarketing Coordinator
Luke Kruyt
Cell: 061 722 7903
Email: [email protected]


TEARS is a Pro-Life, non-profit organization, established in 1999 (registered in terms of Section 18a of the Income Tax Act) whose core aim is to rescue, rehabilitate, reunite and rehome lost, abandoned, abused and neglected animals, and to educate the communities within which we operate, in particular the children.

We strive to meet the needs of the low-income communities in the Southern Peninsula by:

  • Providing free sterilisations, a mobile clinic,  subsidised medical support that includes vaccinations, deworming and parasite control
  • Providing a veterinary clinic on our premises, offering veterinary care for pets for almost any condition, illness or injury at a welfare rate.

We remain the only facility in the Cape Peninsula’s far-south that is available seven days a week to treat the hundreds of animals who need treatment each month for a variety of conditions, illnesses and injuries.

Our focus is on sterilisation to prevent unwanted animals from being born into a life of suffering, abuse and neglect and annually we sterilise in excess of 5 000 dogs, cats and rabbits. In addition we are one of the leading organisations in the compassionate sterilisation and management of the peninsula’s feral cat colonies through our Feral Cat Project. We feed, rehabilitate and care for up to 250 cats and dogs at our shelters. To date TEARS has homed in excess of 17 500 animals.

Source: TEARS