The rise of a phoenix

16th Apr, 2019

Left to right:
Back: AHT Xolani Kunene, Charles Nashand and AHT Tebogo Phutiagae
Front: Sr Marizda Kruger and Dr Bronwyn Prytz

Written by Heather Robertson, Executive General Manager, SAID

Photos supplied by SAID

At the end of January, news reports of a tragic fire affecting the safety over 1000 animals at Purrpaws for Life rang out. Concerned animal lovers immediately rallied around the scene to provide foster homes to the displaced animals. No one was really equipped to burden their already full rescue centres, but a plan had to be made.

The Society for Animals in Distress (SAID), being a professional veterinary care provider, learned that the displaced animals were unsterilised and jumped right in to provide their services to the animals now safe at the rescue centres that went the extra mile.

As soon as the invitation for the SAID emergency sterilisation outreach was delivered, the telephone began to ring with calls for assistance. By the end of February, and at the time of writing, over 200 animals were sterilised in Potchefstroom, the Vaal area, Gauteng surrounds and at SAID’s facility, and they continue to pour in.

The benefit of sterilisation is not only that it curbs population growth, but it also improves the overall health of the animal. Coupled with ongoing access to veterinary care and community education, sterilisations are the gateway to empowering responsible and educated communities. SAID’s everyday general operational footprint provides 100,000 treatments to animals and educates some 74,000 people annually. Their vision of being instrumental and resourceful in ensuring access to veterinary care in South Africa certainly paid off in this tragedy. Their young para-veterinary graduates, a veterinarian, and a whole lot of compassion brought much-needed relief to the sick and injured unsterilised animals.

The sadness of calamities like the recent fire highlights the desperate need for affordable and accessible veterinary care and education on a massive scale. Overburdened rescue centres are desperate to receive the benefits of the full potential of affordable and sustained availability to veterinary care. Looking into the future, communities that have ready access to care and education will improve the burden on rescue centres and the suffering of animals.

SAID is deeply grateful to the very special people who invest in their solution-driven efforts and to the donors who carry the animal care load in general.

The phoenix will rise up out of the ashes as we strive to make a difference.

The emergency mass sterilisation outreach for the displaced Purrpaws for Life animals is now over. SAID continues to capacitate and assist animal organisations all over South Africa that need our assistance in veterinary care. If you would like to invest in us driving access to veterinary care for all, we will honour your support. Please find our donation details below:

Our banking details are as follows:

Account name:                        THE SOCIETY FOR ANIMALS IN DISTRESS

Bank:                                       First National Bank

Branch code:                           252105

Savings account number:        5147 0054 747

Swift code for international payments: FIRNZAJJXXX

Reference: Please use your email address as a reference, e.g., and send proof of payment to so that we can promptly acknowledge your donation.

Should you have any further queries, please contact Holly Doherty, SAID Fundraising Manager, via email or 083 640 8824.

SAID reserves comment on any criminal allegations until the pending investigation and charges are resolved against Purrpaws For Life.