National lottery drops SPCA

Some SPCA branches have Horse Care Units, where horses and ponies that have been abandoned
or abused are nursed back to health before being re-homed. (Roxanne Joseph, GroundUp)

A cut in funding from the national lottery has forced the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to reduce its free services, including the work it does in poor communities.

Since its launch 62 years ago, one of the services it has offered is the care and treatment of beasts of burden, like donkeys, horses and oxen, which many people in rural and other marginalised communities depend on to work the land and for transport, according to a report on GroundUp’s website.

For the past 15 years, the SPCA and its branches across the country have received tens of millions of rands in funding from the National Lottery Commission (NLC).

But in 2017 that funding was cut after the NLC announced a shift in its focus to poverty relief, leaving the SPCA and other animal welfare organisations scrambling to make ends meet.

Marcelle Meredith, the executive director of the National Council of SPCAs, described the decision as “short-sighted and inexcusable” in a statement released at the time the NLC announced the change in its focus.

“We found out via the media that animal welfare organisations were not being considered for funding for 2016/2017,” Meg Wilson, the SPCA’s head of communications, said in an email last month.

Beneficiaries encouraged to ‘find other sources of funding’

The organisation was then informed that applications for funding within the charities sector for 2016/2017 would focus on areas aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP), which “only included helping vulnerable people and crime prevention”.

After writing to the NLC to query the decision and voice its concerns, the SPCA received this reply: “Unfortunately, animal welfare is not one of the focus areas for this year’s open call for applications, and therefore your application will not be accepted this time around. The criteria also exclude some other sectors for this call.”

“Not only does animal welfare affect communities, but the upliftment of animal welfare affects society in totality,” Wilson said, adding that the work the organisation does goes beyond animal welfare.

The NLC responded directly to the SPCA’s concerns with a statement several months after the initial announcement, which encouraged beneficiaries to “find other sources of funding so that they do not build a dependency and an entitlement to NLC funding”.

Animal welfare has once again been excluded from the next round of funding applications (2017/2018), according to an advert on the NLC’s website.

Despite this, the SPCA is applying for funding, according to Wilson.

The SPCA has adoption centres throughout the country. Some of the bigger branches deal with anywhere from 800
to 1 200 adoptions each year, which is much less than the number of animals who come in during that time.
(Roxanne Joseph, GroundUp)

Free services to the poor since 1955

“The [SPCA] does enforce the law and in some of our portfolios, we do prevention and early intervention for the vulnerable.”

The work done by the SPCA and animal welfare organisations may not seem to fit in the category of poverty relief, but the SPCA has been providing free services for the animals of poor people since 1955.

This care is not only aimed at domestic animals; the SPCA also treats and cares for beasts of burden — horses, donkeys and oxen — which their owners use to grow food, earn a living, and for transport.

They also treat cattle, sheep and goats, which people depend on for food and meat.

“Just looking at the impact that the illegal donkey skin trade has on communities, as well as the direct link between violence against animals and humans, the effect that the SPCA has in the work that it does far exceeds just animal welfare,” said Wilson.

The SPCA has adoption centres throughout the country.

The loss of such a significant source of funding has had a major impact on branches across the country, including Grahamstown, Empangeni and King William’s Town. These branches work in multiple rural communities, assisting hundreds of animals each month.

Donkey skin trade ‘detrimental’

In Grahamstown, the organisation works with a large rural community, running outreach programmes, offering vaccinations and sterilisations, visiting schools and meeting with local groups. It also works alongside other welfare organisations and local vets.

“We form connections within the communities to better understand their needs,” said centre manager Mark Thomas.

In the past year the branch has been focused on the trade of donkey skins throughout the area.

The skins are exported to China, where they are in high demand because of pseudo-scientific beliefs about their medical properties.

Thomas described the impact of the trade as “detrimental” because of the reliance of these communities on donkeys for all forms of transport.

The donkey population between Grahamstown and Peddie has been decimated and there are very few donkeys left there.

A large focus of the SPCA’s educational programmes is to teach people living on and around farms how to properly
care for the animals that are often a major source of livelihood for them and their families. (Roxanne Joseph, GroundUp)

‘Animal welfare is inextricably linked to human welfare’

But the SPCA continues to offer support to other communities and their animals, he said.

Sufficient funding has, until now, enabled the organisation — and others like it — to work in communities that are affected by the donkey skin trade, and educate people on how to properly care for their donkeys and farm animals. Communities were also educated on how to spot the signs of a possible trader.

“These donkeys are a massive part of these people’s lives,” said Tara McGovern, a spokesperson for the SPCA Cape of Good Hope branch.

“They are loyal beasts of burden, and are used for vital community activities like transport and trade.”

The decision by the NLC does not make sense because “animal welfare is inextricably linked to human welfare” and the alleviation of poverty, throughout South Africa, she said.

The national lottery has allocated R138m to animal welfare organisations since 2002, which is 1.29% of the total R10.7bn allocated in the charities category of the NLC’s funding.

‘It is a dire time for the organisation’

While NLC funding of the SPCA has varied over the past 15 years, it has remained an important source of financial support for the organisation throughout that time, with an allocation total of R128m.

The SPCA receives no funding from government and relies on lottery funding and the generosity of the public to ensure that it can continue the work it does.

Wilson said: “It is a dire time for the organisation. And although we work tirelessly to raise funds because we know that lottery is not a guarantee, without that funding, it can be detrimental to the organisation.”

The SPCA takes in more than 237 000 animals each year.

In 2017, it responded to more than 42 000 complaints of cruelty. In the past, funding from the lottery has been allocated to buying vehicles that are used to transport animals and reach outlying communities.

The funding is also used for outreach projects, property maintenance and upgrading, veterinary costs, animal handling equipment and salaries, among other expenses.

The lottery has also funded other animal welfare organisations, including The Emma Animal Rescue Society, African Tails and the Animal Anti-Cruelty League.

Source: News 24
Edited: by inFURmation

Level 4 lockdown: Can you adopt an animal yet?

Potential adopters are being turned away from animal organisations who are unsure whether they can adopt animals or not.

Level 4 lockdown: Can you adopt an animal yet?

Until the government allows it, adoption of animals is not permitted.

There is much confusion among animal welfare groups as to whether adoption is permitted under Level 4 restrictions.

The Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa has affected us all. Now imagine knowing there are people out there wanting to give you a second chance but you can’t go to your new forever home? This is the life of thousands of animals in shelters across the nation.

Frustration grows as eager community members are dumbfounded as to why animal adoptions are not allowed. Societies have been inundated with adoption requests leaving many unanswered questions and irate potential adopters. These are unique circumstances as many would-be adopters have much more valuable time on their hands to integrate a new furry member to their family.

Level 4 lockdown: Can you adopt an animal yet?

Shelter animals across South Africa plead to be adopted. Photo: File


Under Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions it is unclear whether animal adoption is permitted. According to Lungi Mtshali from Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), adoptions of animals is not permitted as animal adoption is not an essential service.

“If it has not been mentioned in the gazette, then it is not allowed. As you can imagine, we cannot list every action that is not allowed, the list would be too long,” said Mtshali.

Read the full gazetted document here.

Further questions have been sent to COGTA in regards to animal adoptions such as:

  • Why the adoption of animals has not been permitted?
  • When or which level will the adoption of animals be allowed?
  • If animal adoption organisations follow strict social distancing and sanitation protocols, would adoptions then be permitted?

The National Councils of SPCAs (NSPCA) sent a request to the Covid-19 Nerve Centre Committee on behalf of all SPCAs and animal welfare organisations around South Africa, asking for their permission to allow adoptions to re-open under the Level 4 restriction. To date, the NSPCA has not received a response.

The concerns surrounding adoptions are that access to the SPCAs is strictly restricted – this is for the health and safety of the staff members who are vital for their community’s animals’ welfare, as well as the moral health of society, as well as the health and safety of members of the public.

A statement by the NSPCA said, “We would like to assure the public that rehoming animals is important to the SPCA Movement, however, we are obligated to adhere to any law or regulation set out by the South African Government.

Once adoptions are permitted, NSPCA’s public relations officer Meg Wilson said, “Pre-home inspections are a legal requirement for SPCAs to undertake – these would need to be undertaken with great care, ensuring that the correct PPE is worn, that the inspector and respective home follows social distancing protocols and sanitation.”

Source: Rosebank Killarney Gazette (Caxton Local Media)

Adopting a Pet (Part 2)

What can you expect during the process of adopting a pet?
The process and policy might differ between organisations. The process usually includes an application form, meet & greet, home check, paying an adoption fee, sign an adoption contract, sterilisation and follow-up. Depending on availability for sterilisation at the Veterinarian or home check schedules, this can be completed in as little as 3 or 4 days. 

Irresponsible homing is not rescue! As there are far too many irresponsible organisations as well as scammers out there, we consider it to be a RESPONSIBLE ADOPTION only when it includes the following:

  • Organisation must be registered and have a clear adoption policy as well transparency and accountability.
  • Must have a comprehensive adoption application.
  • Must do a home check in person. 
  • Must require proof of address and copy of the adopters ID.
  • May not allow adoption for someone else as this is highly irresponsible and no reputable and responsible organisation will do this.
  • Must have an adoption contract which includes sterilisation policy and return policy.
  • Should do follow-up post adoption.
  • Meet and greet with all the family members (humans and animals) is important.
  • We believe adoption fee should include at least, the sterilisation, deworming, first vaccination , microchip and ID collar.

If it is an individual who is “re-homing” their own dogs or their friend’s, then it is not adoption and they are part of the problem by abusing the term ‘adoption’. Selling animals on Facebook goes against their community standard and should be reported to Facebook and the group admins.

Home checks:
This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the credibility of responsible animal welfare organisations. As a prospective adopter, you do not have to be afraid of a home check!  You might learn some valuable information about being a pet owner or things to look for and so you can help educate others too! You can also build a relationship with a very knowledgeable person which can come in handy in the future. Most organisations will give you time to make the necessary, reasonable changes and still adopt.

Some home check considerations includes:

  • Access to basic needs like food, water and shelter.
  • Fences, swimming pools, neighbour’s animals and surrounding areas.
  • Inspection of the other animals in the home, their general condition as well as their behaviour toward their owners and other animals.
  • Children and their attitude towards the animals.

If an organisation doesn’t do home checks, they are only a pet shop and you are supporting one of the reasons we have a massive overpopulation crisis on our hands.  No matter what they call it!

Organisations get blamed for being too strict when it comes to adoptions. If the process is too ‘hard’ for you, the commitment to the animal for their life will be impossible for you. You must remember that we are responsible for the life of a sentient being, not just an object you buy at the shop and can return or throw away when you are not happy. It is NOT JUST ABOUT A GOOD HOME, BUT ABOUT THE RIGHT PLACEMENT for the animal considering their needs and the availability of resources to meet those needs.

One popular critique is not allowing adoptions when all the animals in the yard are not sterilised. It is a standard practice among reputable rescues to require any existing animals to be sterilised. It is counterintuitive to our mission as rescuers to allow puppies, kittens, or bunnies to be homed where there are unsterilised animals. We would not have this massive overpopulation crisis if people sterilised their pets. It is about responsible pet owners.


  • It may take some time to gain their trust, for them to adjust (3 months at least) and they might be scared at first or for extended periods of time.
  • Even if the bond is instant, you don’t know your pet yet, so take the necessary precautions around other people, children and pets and do not introduce them to everyone at once.
  • The breed should never be blamed for any issues, it is how you handle the situation.  Get some professional help from a trainer if the issues persist.

If you have any concerns or complaints regarding animal welfare organisations please contact THE PAW COMPANY via Facebook.


Source: The Bulletin

Looking to Adopt?
Search our Welfare Directory!

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3


Image: Pixabay

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3

Your pets can be healthier and happier in 2024 with some or all of these pawsome pet new year’s resolutions!

A new year brings new goals and more than 300 days of opportunity for you and your pet to bond, develop healthier habits and discover new ways to live a full life. Your pet can live a better tomorrow with your help. An important first step is to avoid becoming overwhelmed thinking you need to make big changes overnight. Baby steps in the right direction are the way to go. The important thing is to make a plan and move steadily forward.

Re-publication: Originally published 18 January 2023


  • Keep toxic substances like medications, cleaning or gardening products, alcohol and toxic plants out of reach.
  • Just because a pet shop or vet sells something, doesn’t make it safe. Buy safe bedding and toys made of natural material without strong smells.
  • Clean their food and water bowls daily. We prefer stainless steel bowls to plastic.
  • Be careful about cleaning products, non-stick pans, air fresheners, or perfumes and candles you use that can affect your pets.
  • Resolve to take the time to safely secure your dog in the car on all car trips, regardless of the length of the journey. Never leave them alone in a car!
  • Start firework preparation before the festivities catch you unprepared.
  • Secure your yard so it is safe and so that pets can’t escape or get poisoned from the street.
  • Keep your cats safe in your yard.
  • Make sure there is proper shelter from all the elements.
  • Have a safe space in your home that belongs to them.


Since our pets spend the most time at home or in the garden, we should do our best to build them safe, entertaining places to rest and play. Make sure all potentially harmful plants or substances are out of reach. Create some nice hiding places and vertical territory for your pets to enjoy and explore. Learn more about zoopharmacognosy, which allows your pet to self-select remedies that best soothe them, especially during periods of anxiety.


Be better prepared for the unexpected. This is a healthy habit and can save you a lot of worries later. Pet owners can now choose from a variety of pet insurance plans that meet their needs and fit every budget.


What do you think your senior pet wants to do before crossing the Rainbow Bridge? You can make the last phase of your pet’s life memorable by compiling and completing a list of activities that will have their tail wagging and your heart soaring. Prepare in advance to navigate the Rainbow Bridge journey and making the tough but kind decision to euthanize your pet.


Image by The Paw Company


  • adopt or foster a pet
  • donate to a rescue or shelter
  • donate pet products like beds, towels, bowls, leashes, collars or food
  • volunteer at a shelter
  • say thank you to rescuers (and a vet)
  • take a shelter dog for a walk
  • sign a few petitions to help us save more animals
  • share lost and found animal posts to improve their chances of being reunited with their owners
  • join a specific cause like “stop fireworks”, “say no to the circus” or sterilizations campaigns


Animals can pick up on our energies. We see how sensitive animals are to our emotional state. They get excited when we are or try to comfort you if you are down by climbing on your lap. If you’re continuously agitated or angry when you come home, this could negatively affect your pet’s emotional state. Maybe a good New Year’s resolution idea this year is to learn how to have balanced energy before coming home to see your furry family. Even though a walk might do you good, maybe not attempt it on a day that you are angry or frustrated or not in the mood because you might ruin the experience for your pet.

Keep in mind that barking, humping and digging for example are natural behaviours, but don’t allow your pet to do things if it frustrates you as this will not be good for either of you. There are alternative and healthy ways to deal with such natural behaviours.


Identify what type of pet sitter service you need. Start your search as soon as possible, ask for referrals and interview potential sitters. For us, a big factor (apart from being trustworthy) is someone who has training in pet first aid (behaviour and grooming are a bonus) and who has professional documentation (forms and terms & conditions). List your pet sitter at your vet.


If you are planning to get a new pet, please do your homework in advance about the specie and their needs. It is important that the animal and breed you choose fit with your family’s energy levels and lifestyle. Please do not support breeders who fuel this massive overpopulation crisis, so opt to adopt from reputable organizations that include home checks, a contract and sterilization.


Image by The Paw Company


Only visit True Sanctuaries and say no to those that offer animal rides, interaction, walk with, pet, or taking of photos with the animals.

  • Use your birthday to raise donations for a reputable animal shelter by asking friends and families to donate or let your wedding registry be donations to an animal shelter.
  • Organize a community clean-up because plastic and other trash are harmful to the environment and animals.
  • Support the life in your backyard like the small ecosystems, and animals and insects that live around your home.
  • Say no to pesticides and poisons because poisoning rats and other animals influences the natural food chain.

Choose to wear it kind by buying and wearing clothing ethically. Avoid leather, fur and wool and try sustainable, animal-friendly alternatives because their lives matter! Don’t buy products that are tested on animals. You can find the approved beauty brands on the Humane Guide.


This is one we really want you to help us with! Try and share an educational post about animals regularly to help others learn more about animal care and welfare. Advocate for the voiceless and the unheard, especially about topics like breeding, selling, petting farms, the circus and fireworks.


Almost done. You have your pet and you have decided to make some pet-positive changes in the new year. You even have some great ideas now for pawsome resolutions. To execute these resolutions though, there needs to be detailed goals and an easy plan to follow every day. It is important to create a plan that you can stick to. Consider asking a friend to check in with and make sure you are keeping to those resolutions. Maybe start a calendar and write down the days and the goals. The most important part…..get excited!

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for your pet? Are you sticking to them?


Source: The Bulletin