By Charles Tjatindi WALVIS BAY Many stray dogs and cats currently in the care of the Walvis Bay branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) could be put down if they are not adopted soon. Most of these pets ended up in the safety of the SPCA's kennels after their owners abandoned them during the last holiday season. As the institution relies on handouts and donations from the public, keeping the animals for a long time would result in high running costs that it cannot afford. The SPCA's kennels are currently all filled to capacity, with 50 dogs and about 30 cats. There is also a considerable number of orphaned puppies and kittens under the SPCA's care. This number could go higher as animals are brought in every day from the streets. Once animals are taken in, they are immunized against major pet illnesses and continuously fed until they are adopted, a process that could take months. In order to keep up with the demand and to make space for new intakes, the institution will put down some of the animals that have not been adopted. This process takes place about every three months. "There is nothing we can do to prevent such a thing. We love the animals, and take good care of them, but we just have to put them down if they are not adopted," said Joey Basson, the kennel manager for the Walvis Bay SPCA. Basson said the process is normally carried out by qualified veterinarians, who use lethal injection to put the pets down. This is one of the largest expenses for the institution, as vets often charge exorbitant fees for this exercise. "It is really a struggle to keep a place like this running. Everything revolves around money, but we do not make any. All we do is spend," she said. Another major expense for the institution is the high prices of feed for the pets, as well as medicines. "Most of these animals are brought in close to death. We have to administer various vaccines to keep them alive, which are often very expensive. That is why we cannot keep them for longer periods if they are not adopted," added Basson. The Walvis Bay SPCA, despite its noble intentions, faces a bleak future if donations are not forthcoming to allow it to cover its overheads. Most of its staff comprise of volunteers who often have to make use of their own vehicles to cater for the transport needs of the institution as it has no official vehicle. "I am appealing to all animal lovers to assist us if they can. We love what we do here, but what good does love do if there is no money to buy food for the dogs or immunize them when they are sick," noted Basson. She encouraged members of the public who are looking for well-groomed and immunized pets to visit their facilities and hopefully adopt some pets. The Walvis Bay SPCA opened its doors in 1999, and has since catered for stray pets that are in urgent need of homes. The animals are kept at the institution's kennels for a number of months, but are put down if not adopted within a given time..
2008-01-18 00:00:00 10 years ago