FAW in 2020

2020 was certainly a year with a difference!

  • Need for welfare help increased with people losing jobs and animals being dumped, while donations and adoptions plummeted.
  • Lockdown and social distancing forced us to close for several weeks near the beginning of the year and then could only reopen under very strict circumstances. 
  • Sterithons had to be postponed, reducing the number of animals we sterilised.
  • Because its impossible to maintain social distancing at our second-hand goods shop in Fisantekraal, it had be (and still is) closed. Fisantekraal-based volunteers currently sell the items via WhatsApp in their community. Sales from this shop go towards our vet bills (we unfortunately can’t publicise how much it raises because this would pose a security risk as we have experienced theft in the past).
  • Many of our goals for the year had to be readjusted but we were not going to give up! The animals and their people need us.

We thank each and every single person who supported us, even though times are very tough right now, and those who shared, volunteered, cared, and cheered us on. YOU make the difference. 

FOOD: approximately 27 000kg 

(Of these, 180 were rabies vaccinations)

  • Adult* dogs: 103 
  • Puppies: 1 261 (Of these, 556 were power breeds, mainly ‘Pitbulls’ – note that we charge a lot more to vaccinate these rather than the nominal amount charged for other dogs in order to try and discourage the breeding of Pitbull-type dogs. This is not because we don’t like them – all dogs deserve love and care. It is because of the massive problem we have in SA with the breeding, neglect and mistreatment of these dogs and the severe injuries they inflict on other dogs at the behest of their owners; we also do not vaccinate litters unless the mother will be sterilised. We urge people to never buy them, as many people do with the idea that  you’re ‘rescuing’ them; it’s not a rescue – all it does is creates more of a market.)
  • Adult* cats: 29 (Why so few? People just don’t bring them in!)
  • Kittens: 59

*Adult = over 6 months


  • Dogs female: 214
  • Dogs male: 189
  • Cats female: 75
  • Cats male: 49


This does not include grooming, treatments for ticks & fleas or deworming, or minor things that we deal with ‘on the fly’ like cuts and scrapes. This does include euthenasias, as, in many cases, this is the only way of helping a suffering animal.

The main issues we deal with are as follows (most of which are preventable):

  • Canine parvovirus (this is also the number one cause of death in puppies that we see). Canine distemper is also rife. Both of these can be prevented with simple vaccination programmes. 
  • MVAs (Motor Vehicle Accidents aka animals hit by cars). Note that this is a common reason why people tie up their dogs – they don’t have a wall/fence (can’t afford it) and they are trying to protect their dogs from wandering into the road and being hit by one of the many speeding cars or taxis that zoom around the area.
  • Dog bites/attacks (and, yes, many people also get bitten, sometimes seriously). Unfortunately, although we don’t want to point fingers, the attacks are invariably by Pitbulls and other similar power breeds. They are extremely strong dogs, and, in the areas we work in, tend to be bred selectively for looks, aggression, or strength (not nice nature) and often not properly trained or under the control of a responsible handler. More often than not, it’s unneutered male dogs, especially ones that are chained up, that bite other dogs or peSometimes bored youths deliberately walk their Pitbulls through the area with the express purpose of setting them on other dogs for fun or bragging rights. Sometimes, it is purely an accident.
    The damage is often so severe that euthenasia of the poor victim is the only option. 
  • Parasite-related conditions. This includes sarcoptic and demodectic mange (which we usually treat with Bravecto), flea infestation which can be so severe that animals become anaemic, tick infestation and tick-borne diseases – we’ve seen a LOT of biliary (babesiosis) and erlichia this year. 
  • In cats, we often see Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) and/or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV aka cat AIDS). This is something we test for in surrendered cats and never rehome positive cats because these viruses are contagious. 


Despite being on lockdown for several weeks, during which we did no rehoming, and the closure of Uitsig ARC where some of our dogs were boarding, we are so happy to have found happy homes for 72 animals, some of which had been waiting a very long time.

Mamacita, for example, had waited from 2014 for a home (she was picked up the day after Guy Fawkes and never claimed). She came down with haemorrhagic gastritis (most likely due to the stress of what was happening at the shelter) and had to be rushed to the vet; we were so glad that an amazing person stepped up and took her in. Click her link to see her story.

Happy was also with us for several years and had been suffering from bad kennel stress, becoming skeletal from anxiety and stress-induced fence running.

Lady was a neglected old Rottweiler-mix we all knew in Fisantekraal and, when her owner abandoned her, we knew we had to pull out the stops to help her. It was the worst possible time of the year – just before a serious storm and in the middle of lockdown – and she was old, with bad hindquarters… Yet, still, a fantastic family stepped up to give her a retirement home.

And there were many more that found their way into people’s hearts and homes. We thank each and every FOSTER who opens their doors to these animals as we no longer have a shelter to take them to, and to all who network and help to find them homes. And, of course, a round of applause to their new homes for adopting!

You can help!

We rely entirely on donations and volunteers. Without you, there would be no FAW and none of these animals would be helped. Thank you for your support. All donations are welcome, and we also have a small shop in Fisantekraal where we sell second-hand goods. Or just add us to your MyPlanet card, which doesn’t cost a cent! We are in desperate need of VOLUNTEERS and FOSTERS as well.

And there are LOADS more ways in which you can help the animals – please visit our HELP pages to find out more.


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