Back row: Jenna Parry, Carmen Doyle, Kiara Henderson, Kirsten Wylde, Jade Blandford, Cayla Berrington
Front row: Jorja Yapp, Courtney Wickens, Hannah Counihan, Rebecca Ward, Tyre Rooozendaal
Written by Linda-Louise Swan, PRO, fundraiser and outreach co-ordinator at Animal Anti-Cruelty League Port Elizabeth
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.
Humble beginnings to big change
From their humble beginning in 1983, today AACL PE is proud to have a clinic in Cleary Park with a veterinarian who operates and consults daily, three trained inspectors and three field teams. They also have many volunteers who give their time to help.
The field teams go out into the indigent Northern Areas of Nelson Mandela Bay on a daily basis, covering six different areas daily within over 30 municipal wards. The inspectors deal with the severe cases of neglect, abuse, abandonment, dog-fighting, etc. and process cases through the courts, with good success.
AACL PE’s outreach work is vast and includes mass dipathons and sterilisations; their sterilisation total for 2017 was 2,789. They include rural areas, where no veterinary care is in place.
Often their animal work coincides with human upliftment as well, the two going hand in hand and education and outreach combining, as they continue to strive to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Spaying The Bay
Annual full weekend spayathons occurred in Alicedale, Bedford and Adelaide, and weekly sterilisations through the clinic include aiding other animal societies in P.E. Animals that are abandoned or surrendered are placed in foster homes for rehoming.
Perhaps most exciting of all is that they’ve been appointed as overseeing body for a DA Council-sponsored (R250,000) mass spayathon campaign – Spay the Bay – a “first” for the city. This will be launched with a mass spayathon in June 2018 in the impoverished area of Motherwell, followed by structured allocation through the clinic.
A dedicated volunteer team, fondly known as the SWAT team, form a crucial part of this active group; they’ve already been a part of three dipathons this year in Nkandla, Kwazakhele and Arcadia.
Dipathons involve visiting the community and providing dipping stations where dogs can be dipped for fleas and ticks. The aim is twofold: Firstly, it helps rid the animals of external parasites that can make their lives miserable. Secondly – and perhaps even more importantly –it creates a link with the people in the area, giving them the opportunity to talk and reach out a helping hand; it provides a chance to see where help is needed and welcomes community members to discuss concerns, surrender animals they can’t care for, report animal neglect, and get valuable information. Dogs are usually sent home with food and dewormer. It’s also a chance to sign up animals for sterilisation.
REFLECTIONS ON A FIELDWORK MORNING (from everyday people like you and me)
Nkandla Dipathon (13 January 2018)
“Sjoe! It was hot, windy, dusty and extremely busy, but oh so rewarding. Our SWAT Team proved to be a force to be reckoned with as we set out for this remote informal settlement.
When the word got around, it just never stopped! We processed in excess of 450 animals and everyone went home with food as well. Pups were surrendered, lists drawn up for sterilisations, and some starving dogs were confiscated after a caring teen from next door brought them in, saying that he could not leave these poor chained animals there, knowing that there was food being issued. He took the long journey home after his own dog was seen to, especially to help them.
Amidst the poverty and neglect, there are always these wonderful beacons of light.”
Kwazakhele Dipathon (17 February 2018)
“There are some dipathons where you come away feeling like you have reached so many animals and people, and others where you feel so destroyed by the harshness. This one was, sadly, the latter. It was a toughie, but we managed to care for over 300 animals – making a difference to them.
It is on days like these that we need to constantly remind ourselves to keep focused on the goal, whilst being aware of the realities.”
Arcadia Dipathon (21 April 2018)
“We set out with full hearts to Arcadia, in our Northern areas, to hold a dipathon. It was a Baptism of Fire for our newly established AACL PE Youth League from Pearson High School; within minutes of arriving, one dog attacked another dog and one of our key volunteers was severely bitten whilst trying to help. She had to be whipped off to hospital but, after lengthy consultation, treatment and stitching, she is on the mend and assures us that she ‘will be back’.
Our team continued and 386 dogs were treated – all went home with a blanket, food and a brand-new collar. Our own staff, who volunteer their time at these outreach programmes, are kept very busy with the vaccinations, treating and deworming. Education is so much a part of these mornings and our vet assistant, Faatimah Ajam, related the lovely story of the lady who was in tears of joy when we helped her with her dog who had become infested with ticks and fleas and some slight mange. We treated, applied a tick and flea collar and gave her all the necessary information and meds for follow-up. She was thrilled as she had thought it might be the end of the road for her beloved pet.
And so it was with tired bodies, but still full hearts, that we all made our way back home along the dusty roads to our own, more fortunate realities.”
You can help!
For AACL PE to continue outreach programmes like these, fundraising is a constant need.
Animal Anti-Cruelty League Port Elizabeth is a registered NPO (NPO 000-565) and Section 18A Tax Certificates can be issued.
Donations may be made into the following account:
Account number: 9210194329
Account name: PEACHAACL
Branch: Newton Park: 511917
Reference: Your Surname + Outreach
For more information about Animal Anti-Cruelty League Port Elizabeth, contact us on 041 456 1776, email firstname.lastname@example.org, follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AACLPE/ or visit http://www.aacl.co.za