Who Let the Dogs Out?-SPCA Grahamstown project
SPCA Grahamstown (South Africa) completed their Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grant Project They installed 25 new kennel gates to replace the old rusty gates that had loose wires, which were hazardous to dogs, staff, and visitors.
Michelle, the project manager, told us that "The 'Who Let the Dogs Out' project has had a major positive effect on our Society. After receiving a warning from our Inspector regarding the condition of the existing gates and the danger both to human and animals, and the likely closure of some of our kennels, it was a huge relief to receive the funding from AKI. Without this funding it would NEVER have been possible to start the project and we would have had to reduce our kennel capacity."
The SPCA has 34 dog kennels (many of which have 2 dogs each), plus 4 large, modern kennels, in good condition, that house litters of puppies and dogs awaiting sterilization by the veterinary clinic.
Michelle described the design of the new gates: "The SPCA team selected a galvanised-dip gate so that the metal of the gate will be protected against rust and the harsh borehole water. This, together with the sturdy structure of the gate, although at a price premium, will ensure that the gates remain fully functional at the Society for many years to come."
The old gates had a close-knit mesh which made it difficult for the smaller dogs to see out of their kennels.
The best thing about the new gates, Michelle told us is that, "the design allows the smaller dogs to have much better visibility and I cannot express how wonderful it is to see them sitting peacefully watching the goings on at the kennels without having to stretch up to try and see out. The fact that the gates now close securely is a major benefit to our staff and volunteers, and there are no loose or rusty wires to harm any human or dog."
In September, at the start of the project, things hadn't looked so rosy. The manufacture of the gates was hampered by the ongoing electricity loadshedding experienced countrywide in South Africa, with some days interruptions in electricity supply of up to 6 hours per day.
But in the end, the contractor installed the gates within half the number of days anticipated, making the process a lot more manageable for the staff and with less upheaval for the dogs. Relocating the dogs to temporary runs and enclosures during replacement of the gates was not easy, as all the fuss and changes mean that dogs must be constantly monitored to ensure there are no altercations.
Looking back now, Michelle said, "It has been a long road, but the end result is just fantastic and we will forever be indebted to AKI and its supporters for their generosity and kindness. It is incredible to see the work that AKI is involved with and the reach that you have globally - including Grahamstown now! Thank you once again for selecting our little SPCA as one of your grant recipients. May AKI continue its wonderful work in making this world a kinder place for the animals.
More about SPCA-Grahamstown: "The SPCA does not receive any municipal or government funding and relies on public donations and fundraising activities. The dogs at the SPCA are either strays or surrenders. We try our utmost to encourage adoptions. Our area has been hugely affected by the pandemic with many people losing their jobs and adding to an already high unemployment figure. Sadly pets are the first to suffer as people have to give up their homes. Municipal by-laws are not enforced and pet breeding is rampant. Our kennels are sometimes the only chance of hope for these animals.
Adoptions are at an all-time low and despite having the most incredible animals available for adoption, there has been very little interest. Sadly, the amount of incoming surrendered and stray animals has not declined, placing enormous strain on our facility, staff and finances."
SPCA Grahamstown is located in Makhanda, also known as Grahamstown, a town of about 140,000 people in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. About 40% of the population is considered to be at or below poverty level, which means that the SPCA must rely largely on donors from outside their area. That's where Animal-Kind International comes in!