AKI Grant to Giving is Living: Dogs Unchained!
By Sioni Puri, Giving is Living-Movement for Mutts Project
On initial assessment and request for funding we estimated that the funds received from AKI would allow us to unchain 10 dogs. We have managed to stay within-and even below- budget thus far. We have completed 5 fences for 6 dogs and 1 runner and we believe we will be able to complete a further 6-7 fences depending on the size of the projects.
Dogs that have been unchained with AKI funds
Stokkie was a dog that was found chained by Fisantekraal Animal Welfare. The owner wasn’t very forthcoming and it took some convincing from F.A.W to get the owner to agree to unchain. We tried to use GIL Volunteers and members of F.A.W to put the fence up but unfortunately no one had any prior experience building fences and It was a difficult and frustrating process for everyone. This is when we decided we needed an experienced project manager for each unchaining.
2) 2 puppies
When F.A.W. alerted us to Stokkie, they also chose two puppies for unchaining. The dogs were not chained but kept in a tiny enclosed area in the yard, no larger than a medium crate size. The owner was a lady who was extremely grateful for the fence.
3) 2 dogs
Mitchells Plain Animal Welfare alerted us to two dogs living in a compound that had no shelter and were chained. One of the dogs was admitted to hospital for tick bite fever and was ultimately given up for adoption. We built a fenced area and new gate for the 2nd dog.
Lucy was one of the dogs that were unchained by chance. Whilst on an assessment to unchain Kleintjie, our project manager saw Lucy chained and spoke to the owner. She was already sterilized and so our project manager booked her in for a fence.
Kleintjie was quite a special case for us all. She had been chained because a while ago gangsters were running through the compound and Kleintjie tried to protect her owners by chasing the gangsters but they stabbed her and she needed immediate medical intervention. She was then chained as the owners feared for her life as the gangsters often run through that area. By putting up fence it not only protected Kleintjie and her fellow companions but also a community of 20 other people from the gangsters in the area. You can view the documentary that was made about her here (I highly recommend this VERY cool, informative, heartwarming video....Karen): https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=JJk8Mrk0o5M&feature=emb_logo
Blitz is a pitbull that was found in the extremely dangerous area of Atlantis. We were unable to convince the owner to put up a fence and the property would have been difficult to enclose as it was a very awkwardly placed house, therefore in this instance we decided to install a runner for Blitz. He was ecstatic with being able to move again. It was such a beautiful sight to see.
Process of unchaining.
We work with all animal welfares across Cape Town with regards to unchaining. The reason for this is, the welfares each have specific areas they work in. They know the owners, they know the dogs, the dogs are sterilized and treated, etcs by members of that specific welfare. They have developed a certain amount of respect amongst the community and therefore can communicate better with them regarding unchaining their dogs.
Our prerequisite for unchaining is that the dog must be sterilized. The welfare is in charge of organizing this with the owner and ensuring the dog continues to receive care after the fencing project is complete.
The steps in our unchaining process are:
1) The welfare identifies dogs needing to be unchained. They speak to the owner of the dog and try to convince them to unchain, by putting up a fence on their own accord. If the dog is chained and has been clearly abused or neglected the SPCA is alerted and the matter is handled with law enforcement.
2) If the dog has not been neglected and the owner cannot afford to put up a fence but clearly cares for his dog the welfare then alerts Giving is Living about the dog needing to be unchained.
3) GiL sends our project manager to assess the site. He fills out an assessment form and sends to our team member Adele who collects all the materials needed for the unchaining through donations or by purchasing discounted mesh material, poles, pallet, fencing, etc.
4) The project manager liases with the welfare and the owner of the property and a building date is set.
5) The materials, cost of labor, and transportation is finalized and signed off by me (Sioni) and the project is then executed.
6) The welfare of the dog is then maintained by the charity organization that alerted us to the dog needing unchaining.