Animal Kind International Partner Organization: Uganda Society for the Protection and Care of Animals
ABOUT THE UGANDA SPCA
The Haven is Uganda SPCA’s animal shelter, the first and only animal shelter in Uganda. The shelter is located in Mbuya in Kampala. Alex Ochieng is the Haven Manager. Along with Alex, USPCA animal caretakers, field officers, and volunteers provide daily care for the dogs and cats at the shelter. The Haven usually has about 80 dogs and a few litters of puppies and about 20 cats and kittens. Ideally, the Haven should hold fewer dogs and cats, but turning an animal away, means there's no place else for that animal to go. So the USPCA has an open door policy. They are hoping to purchase land to expand the Haven.
The vision of the USPCA is to have a sanctuary where dogs can move about more freely than they are currently able to and space so that cats are not cramped or stressed; where children and adults from Kampala and Entebbe can visit to learn about and enjoy time with animals; and where USPCA staff and the dogs and cats can work and play in a relaxed environment. If you would like to learn more about the USPCA Land Acquisition Fund, please contact AKI.
Besides the shelter, the USPCA also has a humane education program, in which they talk to schoolchildren and groups of adults about animals and caring for pets. This is often the first time school kids and adults hear a message about being kind to animals. The USPCA also goes into communities and talks to people about their pets and community dogs and cats--animals without owners that live in the community. The USPCA provides animal care, including spay/neuter in poor communities, and when an animal has been injured or is in a bad situation, they'll rescue the dog or cat and bring her to the shelter.
AKI’s PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UGANDA SPCA
Support to AKI helps the USPCA cover their operating costs, such as fuel for transport to rescue dogs and cats and to travel to communities to provide animal care support, such as picking up dogs and cats for spay/neuter and providing advice about improved care; shelter renovations; dog and cat food; supplies, including vet meds; and other USPCA priority needs, without which, the USPCA would be unable to function as well as they do, helping hundreds of dogs and cats each year.
Please donate today to AKI to help The Haven provide for the dogs and cats in need of help in Uganda.
Watch the video below that introduces you to the staff of the Uganda SPCA's Haven.
View some photos below of The Haven. Click for a larger view. Also, check out the photo gallery for more information about The Haven and AKI support to the USPCA.
AKI asked the USPCA what it’s like to be a dog in Uganda:
Ugandans mainly keep dogs for guarding, and guard dogs are expendable. All a guard dog has to do is bark to wake the human security guard (who may have fallen asleep during the night) or to alert the family or neighbors that a thief is around. If, in the process, the thief poisons the guard dog, the guard dog has already done its service by providing the bark that alerted the family to beware. The thief throws poison meat, the dog gobbles it up, the dog barks, the lights go on (or the guard wakes up and chases the thief), the thief runs off, the dog dies.
Acquiring a dog in Uganda is not costly, and training a guard dog is easy. Dogs are "trained" to guard by keeping them in a small wooden box (Ibra, ex-USPCA Animal Field Officer, in front of a typical dog house), often not big enough to stand up in or turn around, for about 18 hours a day. Usually the box has iron sheets for a roof, and under the African sun, it gets very hot in that small space. Sometimes a few dogs share one box (below, pictures of typical doghouses in Uganda).
The dogs can see nothing outside the box-their world is the lifeless space of those few square feet.
Only one person is allowed to feed the dog. Everyone else is the enemy. Tough behavior is encouraged by feeding the dog hot chillies, beating on its box, prodding him with sticks to make him angry, perhaps even starving him to make him alert, always on the prowl for food, mean and angry. Usually it's the gardener or guard or a child in the family who is the primary dog handler. The training technique works, these dogs can become really vicious. There have been reports of gardeners failing to lock up the guard dog in the morning, and a child in the family goes outside, and is attacked and killed by the family dog.
During the day, there aren’t many stray dogs on Kampala’s streets. But at night, when they are released from their wooden crates, they may escape their compounds and meet at the rubbish heap to find some food. Rabies is a concern, and loose dogs on the street may be stoned to death or poisoned—by an individual or sometimes by the City Council. Strychnine is the poison of choice, it is certainly not species-specific, and children and other animals have been poisoned with baits set for dogs. It is a slow, painful death.
AKI asked the USPCA what it’s like to be a cat in Uganda:
Cats are mainly kept to keep mice, rats, and snakes away. They are usually not fed, and are expected to provide for themselves. Some people, especially at market areas, are fairly tolerant of cats since they keep pests at bay. But most people don’t think of cats as pets to be cared for.
What is the outlook for dogs and cats?
While this may sound dismal, many Ugandans are becoming interested in having a pet, and not only to provide guarding services, but also to just enjoy the company of another species. Click here to read about the Dog Totem (A totem represents a clan—a group of people with a common ancestral origin. Clan members can’t harm their totem, and they are supposed to protect the species that represents their bloodline.) Also, we have many stories in the photo gallery of Ugandans adopting dogs and cats from the USPCA Haven, and providing loving, permanent homes.
Livestock Transport & Slaughter: USPCA Activities Past & Present
As a Ugandan born and bred organization, the USPCA sees itself as a proponent not only for animals, but also for Ugandan animal welfarists. So back in 2001, the USPCA asked Ugandans what they think the USPCA should do about animal welfare in Uganda. The overwhelming majority of Ugandans mentioned the horrendous livestock transport conditions. Ugandans wanted cattle traveling from west and north into Kampala to be transported in a more humane manner. read more.
Seeing a livestock truck travel from the west or north upon its entry into Kampala is never a pleasant sight. The large horned cattle, Ankoles, are tied to the trucks’ overhead bars by the horns and sometimes by their tails. But during the trip over rough roads, and also because of bad driving (and no concern for their cargo), the ropes slip down around the necks, and cattle are usually hanging in the back of the truck, gasping for breath. Sometimes they die along the route. The trucks have slatted sides, and with all the knocking around, their legs end up sticking out of the slats at odd angles, often breaking along the way. Then, when they arrive at the slaughterhouse, they are roughly offloaded, often dumped from the trucks because no ramp is available, and beaten as they move into the holding pen.
The actual slaughtering is just as inhumane, and whereas slaughter could and should be a quick death, at Kampala’s slaughterhouses, it will often take five or more men to wrestle a cow to the floor to slit its throat, a process that can take 15 minutes for each animal.
The USPCA implemented Animal Check Points--ACPs, for which the USPCA covered retainer costs and transport costs for at least two policemen, one Kampala City Council Veterinary Officer, and one Senior Officer from the Veterinary Department. In addition, the USPCA covered transport (and salary) for a USPCA Officer to be at the ACP. It is important to have all these staff at each checkpoint to minimize the opportunity for corruption. Click on the photo to the right.
Because of lack of funding, the USPCA has had to curtail their role in livestock transport and slaughter, and now serves mainly in advocacy and adviser roles.
Simba, Uganda's First Humane Education Dog
Simba is a dog in Kampala, who I walked for 5 yrs because he lived in a small box, only let out from midnight to 6 am to guard the kiosk/bar. He and family lived between home and office, and I walked the 10 mins to work, so on my way home, walked Simba and took photos of Ugandans and Simba. Simba also went to schools with me, he was a gentle soul. ...Karen
Hope's fame reaches beyond Uganda. Read about this dog's heroic story, from being a homeless dog, begging at a taxi park; being hit by a car and paralyzed; to living at The Haven and getting the best of care; being the subject of a children's book; and receiving visitors from around the world. Hope's Story
Zooey's story - May 2012
The USPCA told AKI about Zooey in May 2012: Zooey was found by a child on the road after being hit by a car & was brought to the USPCA's Haven, where she received immediate surgery. While her life was saved, her rear legs were left almost completely paralyzed. Over about a two month period, Zooey slowly recovered, making progress and revealing her sweet and wonderful personality!
Mandy, an AKI supporter, found Harlan with Red Flyer, who had just the wheelchair for Zooey, one that is perfect for a very small dog. Mandy connected us with Red Flyer, and they donated the wheelchair for Zooey's use. AKI supporter, Zina, carried the chair there when she visited Uganda. Zooey has since found a permanent, loving home.
Cruelty Case, the Real Story of Bobby Below - click here
Read an interesting article about World Animal Day in Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper.