Animal Welfare Organisations

Be inspired by people and the organisations which make a difference every day. This is where you’ll learn about the humble beginnings of rescue organisations that never gave up, and discover who needs your help and how you can enrich the life of a homeless animal.


The PDSA (SA) has been helping animals in South Africa for 81 years and owes its foundation to the vision of one woman – Maria Elisabeth Dickin – and her determination to raise the status of animals and the standard of their care in society. more

A luxurious fluffy coat, flattened face, round eyes and short legs combine in a dog breed that’s been winning hearts for over 2000 years. The Pekingese (Peke) or Lion Dog has been favoured by ancient Chinese royalty and is a popular companion pet around the world. more

Nestled on a smallholding in Greenbushes, Port Elizabeth, is a caring pro-life shelter of over 200 dogs and cats. Welcome to Save-a-Pet, where animals ranging from just a few weeks of age to over a decade live while awaiting loving homes. Most were saved from neglect, abuse and abandonment. more

The Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch was founded in 1956 with the donation of a van and the support of the Stellenbosch Animal Hospital. Today, AWSS provides help for an area of over 900 square kilometres, 365 days a year. more

Boston Terriers, with their quirky, comical faces, distinctive “tuxedo” markings and compact size, have soared in popularity as a must-have pet. Unfortunately, this has also led to a steep increase in irresponsible breeding, thoughtless buying, and vast numbers of these cheerful little dogs being mistreated and abandoned. more

The carting industry as we know it today has a proud heritage rooted in District Six, where horses and carts were used to “smous” (hawk) fish, fruit, vegetables, bottles and bones. Horses were kept in community stables, travelled short distances with light loads, and business was lucrative for the cart horse owner. more

The Harrismith Animal Shelter was founded in September 2014 to provide a safe, well-run shelter space for animals in need in and around Harrismith, Free State. more

The Dachshund Haven is not a shelter. But it is an organisation where every decision made has a Dachshund at its heart. more

Bulldogs George and Lola started it all; when Bulldog-lovers Jolanda Voster, Chantel van der Merwe and Lenell Hattingh worked together in May 2015 to rescue these two, they had a feeling that as time went by more and more Bulldogs would need new homes. Just over a year later, Bulldog Rescue Angels was founded. more

Fallen Angels Pet Rescue, Melkbos, Western Cape, focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of animals. It is these animals that Ian Martincich hoped to help when, in 2018, he decided to tackle the gruelling 90km Comrades Marathon – not once but twice within 24 hours. more

Chihuahuas are famous for their small size, big personalities, and adorable features. Unfortunately, their popularity is also their downfall. In 2016 it became apparent that many unwanted Chihuahuas were ending up in kennels and shelters. more

Nestled on beautiful open bushland 15km outside the town of Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa, is the Pro Life Pet Rescue centre. This animal sanctuary, situated alongside the Umhloti Nature Reserve, aims to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome cats and dogs that are starving, abandoned or abused. more

The Animal Anti-Cruelty League Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, was started in 1959 with one goal in mind: to do whatever it could to prevent the endless cruelty society inflicts on innocent and helpless animals on a daily basis. In January 2019, it proudly celebrates its 60th year of animal care and protection in the greater Durban area. more

Animal Anti-Cruelty League Port Elizabeth started out of the boot of a car, when a social worker who’d been assisting the very indigent people of the area saw the dire need to reach the animals as well. Today, this organisation reaches over 1,300 animals a month. more

Funda Nenja was started in 2009 and roughly translates from isiZulu as “learning with the dog”. This sums up what an enthusiastic group of people are doing in the Mpophomeni township near Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. more

Our journey in animal rescue began eight years ago when we adopted our first ever rescue dog, Kia, a Bull Terrier-mix from Kitty and Puppy Haven in Midrand. A couple of years later, we adopted two little Dachshunds. With all the joy these precious babies gave us, we felt the need to give back. And, so, we started fostering dogs in need. more

When Robert Arrow’s beloved African Grey parrot, Frankie, was killed by his dogs in a tragic accident on the 17th of September 2017, he was left devastated. His daughter, Kerry-Lee, had come across a Facebook post about Brainy Birds in Edenvale and suggested that they visit the rescue sanctuary. She thought that if he spent time with the rescued birds then it might give him a chance to heal. more

The story of Dobermann Rescue South Africa began in January 2013. A friend told me about a six-month-old female Dobermann who needed a home because her landlord did not like the fact that the dog was digging up the garden of the rented property. more

Each one of us has a purpose in life, fuelled by whatever passion is instilled in our being. Sadly, many never find their passion or purpose; life takes its course and just sweeps us along the path of the normal day-to-day rat race and existence. more

AfriPaw Animal Welfare’s vision is to see communities that treasure their pets, provide for their needs and protect them from suffering and disease. They aim to achieve this by partnering with low-income communities to educate families on their pets’ primary needs, and facilitating access to affordable support services with a focus on mass sterilisation. more

Irwin Animal Rescue Centre in De Deur, south of Johannesburg, is home to over 60 dogs, most of which are over six years old. The majority have never had the luxury of a loving home and many grew up at the centre. more

The horse’s leg was so badly broken that the leg was just hanging – and yet someone had sent him in to be auctioned off anyway. This was the sight that stopped me in my tracks eight years ago at an auction in De Deur. more

Our Frosty Face Foster Program was conceived over a windy weekend in May 2016; why that is vivid in my memory is because Kara (CDR’s Chairperson) and I were supposed to be out riding pillion on our husbands’ bikes. The wind had everything akimbo that miserable weekend and the motorcycles didn’t stand a chance, so we ended up doing that rare “weekend away from everything” in a car. more

#whereswillie is a fund-raising campaign for the African Tails project: Mending Mamre. The Willie in question is Willie Richards of single-trackTM, avid runner, advocate for healthy living and a man who lives by his motto: “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”. more

Are you doing something special for your 67 minutes on Mandela Day this year? If not, we at The Dogbox Project still have open kennels available at our Mandela Day event. Young and old are welcome, so bring the entire family. more

Adorabull Terrier Rescue and Rehabilitation is a small, but powerful, rescue organisation, much like the lady who founded and heads it, Dania Skone. Dania is a qualified animal behaviourist and the unofficial “bull terrier whisperer”. She has changed the destiny of one of the most misunderstood breeds in our country forever. more

Tekkie Tax is a national fundraising campaign founded in 2013 by Annelise de Jager. The idea is that welfares can do more fundraising as a group – as De Jager says: “Together we can achieve more than our individual efforts combined.” more

Arguably one of the most dynamic shelter concepts in the world, WOOF Project kicked off in Sea Point at the beginning of March. A dog adoption initiative by Oscar’s Arc, the dogs come from Western Cape shelters and the collaborative project aims to inspire the public to adopt a dog – and to give one a lasting chance – through this multi-million Rand initiative. more

Zuri Orphanage was established as a “side effect” of my work as a veterinarian in Tsumeb, in the far north of Namibia, where I live. Tsumeb is over 400km away from Namibia’s main town, Windhoek, and there are few resources for orphaned and injured wild animals. more

Ban Animal Trading (BAT) is a registered non-profit company (NPC) and non-profit organisation (NPO) dedicated to confronting and eradicating animal exploitation and abuse in all industries benefiting from the misery and suffering of sentient creatures. BAT is an animal rights organisation that exists to end animal exploitation through facilitating positive and meaningful change. more

Watershed Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Fund was started in 2009 by Stephne Jackson. Having worked with Stellenbosch Animal Welfare Society for over a decade, Stephne saw the need to start a fund to help South African animal welfare organisations with specific needs and projects, particularly sterilisation drives (a subject very close to her heart), emergency medical care, rescue centres in dire straits, and organising flights for animals adopted to different parts of the country. more

Marizanne Ferreira, well-known in PE as an animal rescue worker, has long dreamt of providing a special dog run for the Animal Welfare Society Port Elizabeth (AWS). She envisaged huge runs for the homeless dogs at the shelter, particularly Pit Bulls, for which she has a very special place in her heart. These areas would allow shelter dogs to spend time out of their kennels, running ‘free’. more

The Tom Ro Haven for Equines and Children is a registered non-profit organisation that rescues abused, neglected, and unwanted horses and then pairs them with children and people suffering from intellectual disabilities or mental illness from surrounding impoverished areas. These incredible animals and the trained staff at Tom Ro Haven work together to help people in need. more

Amidst much excitement, the National Cat Action Taskforce – a feline welfare with a difference – was launched in Johannesburg in 2010. NCat is a little unusual. Rather than rescuing cats themselves, NCat helps existing cat-care organisations and individuals countrywide – from the biggest cities to the smallest towns – do more of what they are already doing. This is done by providing funding, distributed carefully and systematically, and by helping to provide access to important resources, such as information, veterinary services and cat traps. more

Farm Sanctuary SA was officially opened on World Farm Animal Day, 2 October 2016. It is the only officially registered sanctuary on the African continent for rescued farm animals and aims to inform and inspire positive change in the way society views and treats farm animals. more

Where STERILISATION is paramount and the forgotten souls are tops! We at ROAR for PAWS (Rural Outreach And Relief for Paws) do not want to be a quiet voice for the forgotten souls in rural areas; we want to raise awareness with a mighty ROAR! more

An elegant speckled dog, jowly muzzle aimed decisively towards a colourful pheasant, silky ears pricked, front paw raised – this is an evocative image that has graced many a painting of old. The idea of the dog pointing out prey to its owner is fascinating and one that many Europeans are familiar with as pointing breeds have been popular for hundreds of years. more

Their big hearts, stinky farts, total loyalty and funny faces, strange sleeping positions, taking over beds and couches and the endless love and best kissers ever. “Once a Staffie, always a Staffie!” We simply love and support this breed and will do everything we can to help them. more

Oudtshoorn is a small town in the Klein Karoo area of the Western Cape; resources are limited and poverty abounds. My life changed completely in January 2016 when I went to our local municipal pound to adopt a puppy... more

Rita Brock, founder and head of Cat Assistance Team (C.A.T.) Garden Route, was once a prosperous pharmaceutical formulation manager who decided to pursue a more meaningful life. Terrified of witnessing suffering, Rita chose to volunteer as an admin worker at The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) in Kommetjie, Cape Town, back in 2000. It wasn’t long before she was sent to the cattery section to help out. more

As a child, my parents always had Miniature Doberman Pinschers and they were my best friends! During every school holiday, I spent time at the pool reading with my dogs as company instead of spending time with my (human) friends at their homes. more

In July 2016, three strong women with a passion for animal welfare and Pit Bull Terriers joined forces to create a dedicated Pit Bull welfare. Robyn Bronkhorst, Nadia Vandecasteele and I opened Pit Pals without even having one dog in our care. Within days, Pit Bulls came flooding in. more

It all started with a pig… I have a small farm in Greyton where, in 2003, my friend Rohan and I started building straw bale houses and living off the grid. All around us in the neighbouring farmers’ fields were sheep and wheat. The sheep seemed to be getting a raw deal – summer lambs fried in the heat, short of water and shelter whilst winter lambs froze in sub-zero temperatures. We swooped up as many as we could, warmed them up, revived them and returned them to the farmers. more

Hartbeespoort Animal Welfare Society’s humble beginnings were the initiative of Jenny Copley, who, together with Ann Gmur, set up a rudimentary shelter on her smallholding in Commando Nek, Hartbeespoort. Both avid animal lovers, they began taking care of abandoned, abused and stray animals in the Hartbeespoort area. more

Thirty two years ago, a small group of people decided to address the plight of suffering animals surviving within riot-torn townships across the Cape. They had nothing at their disposal except a battered old van and a love of animals, but this passion and commitment developed into a regular welfare service within impoverished communities known as the Voluntary Animal Rescue Organisation. more

Beautiful, furry… and almost invisible: feral cats. And they are everywhere. These small, secretive animals are in a grey are between wild and domestic animal. They behave like wild animals in that they avoid humans, hunt their own food, and are totally independent, but are a domesticated species (animals which have been bred and raised around humans for generations). more

Before 2001 the over-population of malnourished, mange-ridden and neglected dogs within the underprivileged community of Kleinmond attracted the attention of 70-year-old Yvonne Pretorius. Yvonne started visiting these areas daily, advising dog owners on proper feeding and care for their animals, and on the benefits of having them sterilised. more

It all began in 2008, when I went for a run in the sleepy holiday town of Elands Bay, which is 220km from Cape Town. I stumbled across the local township where some dogs looked rather worse for wear. After rushing home to demand of my husband that we do something, I started making calls. more

The 9th Day Rescue, Rehabilitation & Rehoming Centre in Krugersdorp was founded by Charmaine Booysens in January 2015. It was a dream come true for her. Her big heart for the plight of animals has plagued her since a young age. more

What started out in 2003 as helping abandoned, neglected, and abused animals by promoting sterilisations developed into a full scale operation sterilisation drives, feeding programmes, and a shelter: Wollies Animal Project / Wollies Diere Projek (WAP/WDP) – Wollies for short. more

Emma Geary-Cooke had long dreamed of starting an organisation to alleviate the suffering of animals in Masiphumelele, a large informal settlement on Cape Town’s southern peninsula. Sadly, Emma was killed in a car accident two weeks before her dream was realised, depriving us of a loyal and dedicated friend who was passionate about animals. Devastated, but undaunted, two of her friends involved in animal welfare collaborated to make Emma’s dream come true more

In October 2013, an amazing initiative to bring festive joy to shelter animals was born: Santa Cause for Paws. The start of something magical... Animal lover Mandy Schwark had come up with a concept of collecting gifts for shelter animals and, as it was something I’d discussed doing with friends, I was tagged on her page. I offered to help with a website… before you knew it, Mandy and I were fully involved in the cause and running the drive together more

New Beginnings – A lifelong dream come true. New Beginnings was born out of someone taking a step of faith and deciding to follow her dreams. In 2012, animal lover Emain Fourie sold her business of eight years to pursue her lifelong dream. Emain had always had a passion for helping those in need and decided to let that passion blossom into something real. Her motto has always been that dreams were made to become a reality more

Celebrating 20 years of serving Khayelitsha pets and their human companions. It all started with a community hero who wanted to help his neighbours’ pets. Mr Joe pushed a trolley and water bucket around the community, bathing and feeding pets. He soon attracted volunteers, one of whom was able to secure funding and became the full-time project manager. Over the years, Mdzananda grew from a single shipping container more

The staggering number of stray, neglected, abused, homeless and suffering dogs, resulting from uncontrolled and indiscriminate breeding, forced the founders of Pretoria Dog and Husky Rescue to open their doors to all dogs in need. Celia van Zyl and Nicole da Costa established Pretoria Dog and Husky Rescue in 2013 in order to help one of the world’s most misunderstood (and surrendered) breeds. more

Knysna Animal Welfare Society has been helping the animals of the Knysna area for decades. Their mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome where possible, and educate wherever they go. They run a veterinary clinic daily and help animals from impoverished areas around this Wilderness town. more

The Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG) rescues, cares for, sterilises and rehomes previously unwanted, abused, neglected and abandoned cats and dogs. This pro-life, registered non-profit animal welfare organisation provides a crucial role for the impoverished communities of Imizamo Yethu, Hangberg, and the greater Hout Bay area in the Western Cape. more

The Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL™) has been protecting and caring for animals since 1956. It’s South Africa’s second largest independent animal welfare organisation and exists to prevent and eliminate cruelty to all animals. In February 2016, this phenomenal organisation proudly celebrated its 60th anniversary. more

Their patients include anything from the smallest sparrow to bats and owls, and even more unusual species like honey badgers and pangolins, and they receive calls from as far away as Ghana and Central African Republic for advice. Welcome to the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital, a special facility caring for small and medium wildlife, and working to treat, rehabilitate and release their patients back into the wild, where they belong. more

Camdeboo Sterilisation Initiative was started in 2012 by a small group of animal lovers to try and reduce animal suffering, neglect and abuse through sterilisation of domestic pets in mainly impoverished areas in and around Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape. more

Learn how to communicate with animals while helping Yorkie Rescue South Africa in their task to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome Yorkshire Terriers. more

By supporting Dogtown SA, you’re also supporting many other animal welfare organisations. Through our unique, sponsored Click-to-Feed initiative, we are able to donate up to two tons of food to selected charities around the country every month. This falls under our division called Barking Mad, whose website serves as a platform to showcase pets in need of homes. more

My name is Samantha Chatham, although most people simply know me as Sam. My day job is spent managing my own Tourism Marketing consultancy called Somewhere SOUTH – Hospitality Solutions, along with the help of my valued assistant, Luckmore Fadzi, who hails from Zimbabwe. more

Benoni Animal Rescue Centre (BARC) believes that all animals have the right to life and, for the last three years, we have been striving to give every animal the chance at a good life. more

An abandoned dog, collapsed in the dirt and having a seizure, was the catalyst for a concerned citizen to set something in motion that has led to scores of needy animals being helped. It was 2005 and there was no help for the animals of the impoverished township of Fisantekraal, just outside Durbanville, Western Cape. more

The phone rings – the time is 5:35am. Nomsa’s guardian is panicking on the other side of the phone. “Help please, Nomsa has been poisoned.” Oscar stops what he’s doing and jumps into his bakkie. He knows that, when it comes to a poison, every second counts... more

Border Collies are a popular breed in South Africa. People often get them because they’re attractive, intelligent (listed in the top five most intelligent dog breeds), and loyal. They’re often shown on TV doing tricks, herding sheep, and being very obedient, adding to people’s interest in the breed. more

In the severely impoverished communities of Johannesburg South, one woman spends every spare moment striving to improve the well-being of the animals (and their people) living in these areas. Hellen White, of Hellen – Working in the Community, supports over 200 animals, assisting with top-up feeding, sterilisations, vaccinations and veterinary care more

The Transkei Animal Welfare Initiative (TAWI) is a grassroots NPO providing basic companion animal health care services in 16 rural communities in the Eastern Cape’s former Transkei. TAWI is not a shelter and rarely rehomes animals. Instead, TAWI works in an outreach capacity, proactively improving the health and well-being of animals in remote rural communities where there are no veterinary services for 100s of kilometers. more

Friends of Rescued Animals (FORA), located in Krugersdorp (Mogale City), Gauteng, is a pro-quality of life animal shelter following the ‘Three Rs’ principle: Rescue, Rehabilitate, and Rehome. FORA view themselves as ‘a stepping stone towards an animal’s next (hopefully forever) home and strive to give them the best quality life we can while in our care’. more

Cluny Animal Trust, founded in 2011, is a Community Veterinary Welfare situated in the Eastern Free State. We chiefly provide a primary healthcare service to the impoverished communities of Fouriesburg, Clarens and Bethlehem. Our prime focus is on preventive treatments, including sterilisations, vaccinations and parasite control, but we also treat illnesses more

African Tails, who work in and around the Township areas of Dunoon and Joe Slovo, as well as Brooklyn, where they are situated, are our focus organisation for this month's “You Can Help Us” article. Read their list, visit their website, and help African Tails to continue their incredible work more