The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (South Africa)

10th Dec, 2018

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.

She opened her first free “dispensary” in the then-impoverished Whitechapel area of London in November 1917.

PDSA (SA) was established as a branch of the PDSA (UK) in 1937 and began operating from a converted stable in District Six. It went on to become an independent organisation in South Africa in 1988, and today around 150,000 animals are treated each year.

In a nutshell

The PDSA’s objective is simple: to treat and care for sick and injured animals belonging to those animal owners who cannot afford the high cost of private veterinary services.

The direct beneficiaries are the animals; our indirect beneficiaries are the people from communities served by the PDSA as the transmission of zoonotic diseases (can spread from animals to humans) is reduced, as is other problematic behaviour. In addition, we make it possible for the elderly/pensioners and poorer households to have a companion animal.

We don’t engage in prosecution cases or in the rehoming of animals. Rather, we focus our resources on the provision of the best welfare veterinary healthcare service possible for animals whose owners are from poorer communities. Without our intervention these animals would simply not receive any veterinary treatment. PDSA (SA) treats around 150 000 animals per year.

In areas where the PDSA works with cart horses (Soweto), we play a significant part in ensuring these communities are able to own a healthy working cart horse and thereby generate an income.

Besides treating sick and injured animals, we vaccinate and sterilise tens of thousands of animals each year at our treatment facilities and at organised campaigns at other locations.

How PDSA (SA) works

The Head Office with a central administration is situated in Bridgetown, Cape Town. We have three fully equipped hospitals in South Africa: Cape Town (Bridgetown), Soweto (Mofolo) and George (Conville). We have two satellite clinics situated in Athlone and Mitchell’s Plein in Cape Town and one in Pimville in Soweto. Our nine mobile units service 75 poorer communities that would otherwise have extremely limited access to veterinary healthcare services.

The PDSA is a non-profit Animal Welfare Organisation that receives no government funding. It relies heavily on the generosity of sponsors and donors to continue in its efforts to provide primary healthcare to those animals whose owners cannot afford the cost of a private vet.

Although we do charge nominal fees for our services in most cases, the way forward for the PDSA (SA) would be so much more uncertain without the generous contributions from sponsors and donors alike.

We have around 90 full-time staff members and numerous volunteers who are all absolutely dedicated and committed to “Bettering The Lives That Brighten Ours”.

The PDSA (SA) is registered with the Department of Social Services as a Non-profit Organisation (NPO 003-288) and has Section 18A Income Tax Exemption status (this means that we can issue S18A tax certificates). We are governed by a non-executive Council of Management and are audited by Shrand & Eckermans.

You can help!

Donations keep us going, and we’re always in need of various things, including:

  • Dog, puppy, cat and kitten food
  • Newspaper
  • Blankets
  • Dog and cat food bowls
  • Medical consumables

Every donation makes a difference. Banking details: People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (SA) – First National Bank – Acc. no.: 502 643 90185 – Branch code: 201 409

For more information, contact us on (021) 638 5134/5 or 082 829 8114, email, visit or follow us on Facebook PDSA-SA.