Helping people to help animals
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. She began working in the area every spare moment she had to improve their lives, calling in assistance from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals and Animal Anti-Cruelty League; soon, more volunteers joined and, in 2006, Fisantekraal Animal Welfare received their official NPO status.
So much to do, so little time
Fast forward ten years and this volunteer-run organisation has made huge inroads not only in Fisantekraal, but surrounding areas and farms. Thousands of animals have been sterilised, vaccinated and treated for illness and injury; people have been empowered to look after their companion animals and educated as to proper care – a situation that was but a dream all those years ago. Additional areas have been taken on, including farm labourers’ animals. Hundreds of animals have found wonderful homes. And all this is done by volunteers working out of shipping containers, mainly on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
In 2016 alone, around 600 animals were spayed/neutered and many treated for serious illness or injury. Up until now, these things have been done with help from private vets nearby. Aside from a handful of sterithons held in the area, almost all are collected by volunteers during the week, driven the 10 to 15km to the vet, and returned – a lengthy process clocking up thousands of kilometres and using lots of petrol and money. It is also traumatic for the animals and time-consuming. While a basic healthcare clinic is in operation for vaccinations, parasite control and minor treatments, more is needed.
The future is now
2017 sees the start of an exciting new step on their road to helping the animals: they have begun work on a surgery at their premises in Fisantekraal.
Having an on-site surgery means many more animals will be sterilised and helped in a shorter time – and the quicker animals can be helped, the more time this leaves to help even more of them. It also means owners can play a more active part in taking care of their animals as they can bring them to the clinic for sterilisations and surgeries, rather than the animals being taken out of the township and returned. It will bring across the message that this is help in their community, for their community, not just people coming into the area to do things they have no input into. Although FAW has some volunteers who live in Fisantekraal, they would like to encourage more; this will be possible with more on-site activities.
Fisantekraal is expanding; a new low-cost housing development called Greenville has sprung up with a planned 16,000 new homes – and no provision for the animals of this area. The time has come for this long-held dream of a clinic with operating theatre to become a reality…
How can you help?
Aside from ongoing needs such as dog, cat and puppy food, reliable volunteers, and monetary donations, FAW needs many items for their surgery, which will be set up in a shipping container. A portable air-conditioning unit, surgical equipment, a stainless steel operating table, and bigger items such as an anaesthetic machine.
Funding is needed to purchase these items. In May, a cycle challenge will take place to raise R50,000 for the surgery. You can “sponsor” a rider (riders pay their own way and all funds generated are for FAW’s work), either by donating to their direct bank account or through online fund-raising website Back-a-Buddy: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/faw80-ride
Banking details: Nedbank – Fisantekraal Animal Welfare – Cheque account – Acc no.: 1039094171 –
Branch no.: 10 39 10 (Tygervalley) – reference: Surgery
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 084 519 0380 or 062 258 3514, visit www.faw.za.org, and follow them on Facebook at ‘F.A.W. (Fisantekraal Animal Welfare)’ and Instagram at ‘fisantekraal_animal_welfare’.