A mother’s love is unconditional – whether human or an animal. The number one priority is protecting them from danger.

For mum Michelle, nothing could have been more devastating than witnessing her puppies being stabbed and then burnt. A few nasty children had stabbed some of her seven pups with pointed sticks and when the animals hid under a couch, the children set it alight. Michelle didn’t think twice. She jumped into the flames and bravely pulled each of her puppies to safety, becoming severely burnt herself.

This is the sad and brutal life of many dogs living in South Africa’s townships. Most people there are too poor to care for them and very few know how. Michelle was rescued by Network for Animals (NFA), one of the few animal welfare organizations that venture into the dangerous area. Last year the Network for Animals team was shot at by gangsters, with a bullet hitting their vehicle.

David Barritt, NFA’s chief campaigner, said that economic problems in South Africa have worsened which has had a knock-on effect for animals. “People are poorer than ever, law enforcement is shockingly weak and education in trouble, all this means that animals don’t have a chance. The kids’ role models are often gangsters for whom hurting and torturing is a fun thing to do. These puppies are an example, the children who tortured them have no moral compass, they never even realized what they were doing was wrong.”

Michelle and her puppies were taken to a shelter run by NFA’s local partner Fallen Angels. There they will be cared for and hopefully found homes. 380 dogs at the shelter depend on public support for their lives, but Barritt says, in tough times, every day is a struggle to protect animals.

You can find out more about Network for Animals and Fallen Angels by clicking here.