Written by Jolene Harris – Chairperson: LEAPS
Left to right: Baby Madison Buys, Yolande Buys with Storm, Jolene Harris, Chikara Blake Macun with Stuart, Michell Macun, Sharnelle Cooper with Jackson, Joanne Meyer with Layla, and Dot Skelly with Roxy
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. These led me to Michell Macun, an amazing woman living in Lamberts Bay, just 30km away, who had been tirelessly doing animal welfare work for many years. After just one meeting, it was decided to concentrate our efforts in Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay, thus Lamberts and Elands Animal Protection Services (LEAPS) was born. A year later, LEAPS was registered as a non-profit organisation.
The smaller townships of Lamberts and Elands Bay were coming along well with regular spayathons and field workers attending to primary health care, when LEAPS was approached to assist with the nearby Louwville township in Vredenburg. Things were so bad there for the animals that the area of Louwville has come to be called Horrorville. Without hesitation, we took on Vredenburg, and what a journey it has been. The area is so large that Dot Skelly, our brave field worker tending to this area, would need one year to cover every house there.
Due to the size of the areas we cover, we’ve calculated that we’re presently assisting approximately 20,000 dogs and cats.
The LEAPS team consists of three dedicated full-time employees – two of whom are based in the townships – with an additional contingent of wonderful volunteers, most of whom also have full-time jobs. All the volunteers personally visit the townships to tend to animals in need.
LEAPS concentrates on educating township pet owners to better care for their pets. The team fundraises to assist with the medical needs of animals, particularly for mass sterilisations, feeding programmes and providing shelter to thousands of animals. The closest vet to Lamberts and Elands Bay is 100km away, and we walk door to door administering assistance to animals in need. Over 3,000 animals have been sterilised since 2008 by this incredible group of people; surrounding towns are also assisted with medical assistance and manpower for spayathons in their areas. The organisation is also involved in education programmes for school children.
How can you help?
Many people ask, “What does LEAPS need?” The answer: just about anything you can think of for an animal, especially food, food and more food! Money for sterilisations, medicine and veterinary assistance is always needed; LEAPS is also fundraising to purchase a much-needed mobile clinic. Kennels, blankets and bedding are always needed.
Foster homes are in high demand; when animals are rescued, LEAPS has no kennelling facilities to send them to, so private foster families (and forever homes) are critical. Help with adoption days and fundraising events is also always appreciated.
And, because LEAPS understands that it’s not always easy for people to simply make monetary donations, much of their fundraising is achieved by arranging entertaining events where donors can enjoy themselves while getting to know who LEAPS is – and what they do, purely for the love of animals.
To donate: LEAPS – Nedbank Southern Peninsula – Current Account – Account number: 12321 44525, Branch Code: 123209(00). (Donations are tax deductible.)