The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Windhoek (SPCA) takes in up to 2 350 animals annually ranging from domesticated pets to wild species.
According to statistics released by the SPCA, the organisation takes in about 1000-1 500 dogs and about 450-750 cats, as well as around 100 pocket pets and about 100 birds (wild and pet birds). Wild horses and production animals are not kept on the premises.
The SPCA gets between 10 to 40 cases of cruelty reported to it monthly.
‘’Animals are not donated to us and the SPCA does not sell animals that come as strays that are mostly picked up by the City Police or are surrendered to the SPCA for various reasons. For an adopter the animals is free. The adoption fee is for medical cost of the animal, which goes to a new home fully vaccinated and de–wormed, micro chipped and sterilized’’, Birgit Kaese ,the Manager of SPCA said.
When dogs are brought to the SPCA, they are placed in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days unless vaccination certificates are produced.
Last year, a dog called Savannah was taken from the owner by a neighbor after several complaints that the owner was cruel towards the dog. SPCA asked the public to provide proof that there was abuse as this would enable the SPCA to act legally in confiscating the animal and to lay a charge against her owner. No such proof was provided so the SPCA was unable to do anything without breaking the law.
However, a member of the public took Savannah from the owner and the owner later laid a charge of theft against the person that took Savannah upon which the City Police than took Savana to the SPCA under instruction that she should not be re-homed, returned to anyone involved in what they deemed was theft nor returned to her owner for the time being.
The dog was put in a 14 days of quarantine, for vaccination measure’s and doctor’s report. The report came back that she was in good condition and there were no signs of abuse of any kind.
She was placed in a quarantine kennel, but members of the public threatened to break into the SPCA to steal the dog so she was transferred to a good foster home.
After charges of theft was dropped against the member of the public that took the dog from the owner, another family that applied to adopt her were told that she would not be re-homed yet as per police instructions. The applications are filed at the SPCA. Three police officers and a member of the public tried to demand that Savannah be returned to the owner but the SPCA refused despite the police bullying tactics used. With the help of a lawyer they were told to sort out the issue with the City Police Animal Control Unit (CPACU). Later in that week the NamPol officers and an inspector from the City Police Animal Control Unit returned to the SPCA to communicate that they had struck a deal to return Savannah to her owner. SPCA were handed a Police Declaration in which he stated that as soon as he received his dog, he would leave Windhoek by early the following morning. He further stated that if he was found again with the dog after that date, the dogs would be taken away from him permanently. And the dog was returned to the owner. The next day social media reported that the dog was seen around with its owner but neither the City Police nor the SPCA could confirm that. Savanah and its owners have last been seen on the day that the dog was returned to the owner.
The SPCA in its annual general meeting from October last year, disclosed that the shelter has had to fork out N$400 000 to cater to one confiscated dog that was left at their shelter last year.
The shelter has, however, been able to receive funds from bequests, grants and donations and the bulk of this money is in an investment account at Bank Windhoek.
The bequests were, N$ 40 000 cash bequest, N$ 403 620 in September 2014 and N$ 134 540 in February 2015, City grant of N$250 000.00 as well as a donation of N$100 000.00 from First National Bank as part of a 3 year agreement and an inheritance of N$ 257 500.
Last year, the SPCA had 15 dogs sold by auction for a total for N$40 000 as sniffers dogs.
According to minutes from the general meetings, the SPCA has battled opposition and hate speech from various sites on Facebook.
“The formal accusations against the SPCA sent to the MoHSS were part of a campaign that has caused harm to the animals at the SPCA as people like to believe the worst and it has affected donations, adoptions and the general image of the Society. The investigation that followed not only cleared us of any wrong-doing but also earned us considerable praise for our professionalism and high standards”, the minutes read.
During the financial year of 2013/14, 2202 dogs and 836 cats were brought to the shelter. That is close to 400 animals more than last year. Only 392 dogs and 178 cats were adopted.
“Verbal accusations and badmouthing actions like these never benefit the animals in our shelters. The veterinarian tasked with the enquiries about the physical and mental welfare of our animals also confirmed what the SPCA and the veterinarians maintain: euthanasias are not to blame on the SPCA, these figures are the result of a community based problem. We live in a throwaway society, animals are possessions and therefore parted with easily when misfortune strikes. The economic situation leaves animals untreated and vulnerable as many people cannot afford to visit vets on a regular basis”, the minutes read further.