A Decade Of Helping People to Help Animals
Just over ten years ago, Durbanville resident, Rosa Pheiffer stumbled across Fisantekraal township, 10km away from Durbanville, Western Cape, after taking her housekeeper home one afternoon. Like most Durbanville residents, she’d never been inside the township; what she saw when she drove through appalled her.
Many animals wandered the streets in an awful state – neglect, starvation, and illness were rife. She passed a dog convulsing in the dirt, people just walking by. Sickened, she contacted the Animal Welfare Society in Phillippi. The dog had end-stage canine distemper and, although sadly he had to be put to sleep, he was the catalyst for major change in Fisantekraal .
The following week, unable to shake the horrific memory, Rosa returned to the township, where she saw a badly mange-infested dog; again, AWS was called out.
(As published in Happy Tails Magazine Issue 2 2016.)
The start of something great
With the closest animal welfare over 20km away, and most residents in this impoverished area having no transport, there was simply no help for them. She took to spending every weekend in the township, helping the thousands of suffering animals.
Realising that the biggest problem was uncontrolled breeding, Rosa arranged for the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) Epping to collect ten animals a week for sterilisations. Next, Durbanville’s private vets were roped in, followed by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).
More volunteers joined (several of whom are still with the organisation), funds were raised, and a glimmer of hope appeared for the animals of Fisantekraal…
Initially, there were no real premises – until a shipping container was donated in May 2006. Dogs were bathed and dipped under a beach umbrella in a plastic tub; a mobile clinic from AACL or PDSA helped with vaccinations and sterilisations. Two more containers arrived, as well as two vans.
Today, a dedicated bathing container with running water, a solar water heater, and two baths allows for many dogs to be treated for fleas, ticks, and mange, and a treatment room/clinic provides basic medical care (severe injuries and illnesses are taken to vets in Durbanville). A food container was also opened providing subsidised food and various other animal accessories (collars, bowls, etc.). Two FAW vans drive the streets several times a week, looking for problem areas, placing kennels and runners (for tethered dogs) and providing first aid where needed.
On 12 September 2006, just under a year after Rosa discovered what was going on, Fisantekraal Animal Welfare became an official Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 051-348).
Onwards and upwards
Ten years on and the level of care for animals is steadily increasing as people realise FAW is there to help and as their education and empowerment focus gains ‘converts’. Although there is still some resistance to sterilisations due to people wishing to sell puppies – particularly Pit Bulls – increasing numbers are seeing the benefits and asking for their pets to be spayed/neutered. Residents of Morning Star (a low-income area near Durbanville), Klipheuwel (a small, impoverished farming community near Fisantekraal), and farm workers in the area now also benefit from FAW’s help.
In 2015, Caim Animal Welfare along with CEL Paving helped FAW to pave the antire area around their premises, Steel and Pipes for Africa donated and placed a strong fence for security, and Spiros Mica in Durbanville provided paint so that the containers could be made into an uplifting space. FAW is very proud of its ‘proper’ premises from which a great deal is being achieved for the animals and their owners.
2016 will see the organisation having its own space in Melkbos alongside another animal welfare where their adoptable animals will be able to wait in comfort for their forever homes (they currently board among other animals).
FAW’s main aim is still mass sterilisations, basic healthcare, and education. In 2015 alone, 1422 dogs and cats were vaccinated against rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and various other diseases, and almost 600 were sterilised; 1312 were bathed and treated for mange, ticks, and fleas (major problems in the area). 92 rescued and unwanted animals found their forever homes, many kennels were placed, and 683 animals were treated at vets for serious injuries and illness – countless others were treated on site for less severe cases.
Quite an achievement, considering FAW is open only 2 days a week and every team member is an unpaid volunteer working in their spare time.
With help from supporters, FAW will continue to go from strength to strength. Here’s to another decade of helping the animals of Fisantekraal, Morning Star [,Klipheuwel], and surrounding farms!
FAW is planning several events to celebrate their ten-year anniversary, including a tree-planting ceremony in honour of all the animals helped over the last decade and a cycle challenge. If you can assist with events planning and/or fundraising, please get in touch. Dog and cat food, kennels, collars and leads, and anything else you can think of for animals are always in demand. For those who can’t adopt an animal, but want to help, a sponsorship programme is in place to care for the dogs and cats waiting for homes; FAW also needs assistance with building their camps.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 079 173 8260 / 062 258 3547, visit www.faw.za.org, and follow them on Facebook at ‘F.A.W. (Fisantekraal Animal Welfare)’ and on Instagram at ‘fisantekraal_animal_welfare’.
In the press