A year in review for an overburdened SPCA
By Hanna Rhodin
National Director SPCA.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Namibia consists of its Windhoek Shelter Operation and seven other additional branches throughout Namibia, of various sizes and scopes. These other shelters are located in Grootfontein, Keetmanshoop, Luderitz, Oshana, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb and Walvis Bay and are all registered Welfare Organizations (WO6), that are here to protect and prevent cruelty to animals, and to promote animal welfare in Namibia.
Our organization aids animals in need through education, action and provision of care. The SPCA plays a pivotal role in rescuing and assisting animals that are neglected, abandoned and abused all over Namibia. The SPCA’s numerous shelters and foster caregiver networks can house anywhere from just 20 to over 400 animals at any given time. We are primarily funded by donations from generous private individuals and corporate businesses.
Animal activities in numbers
The year 2021 has been the busiest year yet at the SPCA, during one of the craziest times in our lives. It was a year filled with highs and lows for everyone. Thanks to our supporters nationally, we have been able to rescue over 5 068 animals, re-homed 874 animals, reunite 487 lost pets with their owners, sterilize a total of 841 animals and have been able to give 158 animals special surgeries and treatments needed.
In Windhoek alone, we have been able to rescue 4 185 animals, reunite 384 lost pets with their people, re-homed 494 animals, responded to 596 calls for help, sterilize 516 animals and administered 2 235 vaccines. We took in 465 more animals in total and nearly 600 more cats compared to last year.
Animal intake over the years
In Windhoek, the annual intake of animals from 2016 to 2021 has grown from 3 100 to 4 185 a considerable 35% increase. Just in a five year period, from 2016 when the SPCA Windhoek took in 882 cats to 2021 when we took in 2 024 cats, the number of cats we have taken in has increased by 129%. These are only the cats that are actually caught or brought to the SPCA, but we receive many more phone calls of feral cat colonies that keep on growing that the SPCA is not able to reach. All of the SPCA Branches cite concerns of growing feral and stray cat populations. It appears that the need for organisations like the SPCA is only increasing.
Financial and COVID-19 impact
Many of the branches took a financial hit in the last fiscal year, many attribute this to the COVID-19 pandemic and its larger impact on the Namibian economy. Many branches shared stories of animals being surrendered due to private individuals losing their jobs, having to move or simply no longer having the financial means to care for the animals.
Whilst the pandemic had an impact on the SPCA’s ability to reach our youth and future guardians of animals, we created a holistic human education booklet on how to care for animals and their well being. In Windhoek, thanks to our sponsors and donors in ‘Project PAWlift’, we have been able to renovate two of our kennel runs, the front office, the rabbit enclosures and give our dog gardens a much-needed PAWlift with colour and added enrichment. Our Walvis Bay and Luderitz branches were also able to make considerable improvements to their facilities. In Otjiwarongo, we conducted a rabies vaccination day with the help of several other institutions. We vaccinated, de-wormed and dipped more than 200 animals. All animals were seen by one of our local private vets and, for the most part, all were in good conditions.
In 2021, the SPCAs come together for the first time for two national initiatives, the ‘Clear the Shelter’ adoption drive and the ‘Mutt Strutt’, a mega pack walk with dogs in aid of the animals at the SPCAs all around the country.
The year ahead
The SPCA team looks forward to doing even more for animals in 2022 and we have exciting projects ahead, ranging from human educational outreach and working animals welfare projects to shelter improvements and joining forces to bring attention to the plight of the many animals in need nationwide.