Picture this. The harsh African sun is beating down on four very young puppies lying listlessly on dirty ground. The puppies are too weak to move, so near death they have given up struggling. They are infested with so many fleas it seems their fur is moving. Bloodthirsty ticks suck the puppies’ blood and their little tongues stick out, seeking life-giving water where there is none.
This is the sad sight we saw when we and our partner TEARS braved the streets of Lavender Hill in Cape Town. Thousands of dogs (and cats) living there need food and urgent medical treatment. This is why we need your support today.
Lavender Hill is a slum so dangerous that we were never allowed to go there before because both the police and the army said gangster activity made it too risky. Honestly, we were apprehensive, but we go where the animals need help and so we did what we had to do.
Almost the first things we found were four puppies lying in a garbage-strewn backyard. One of our team members leapt over the wall to check on the pups. A woman appeared at the door of the house. “I don’t want them, so I left them there,” she said.
When we told her they would die without water, she shrugged and said: “You can take them if you want.” Just like that, we had four more souls to care for.
Usually, the puppies we rescue make some effort to say thank you with a wag of the tail or a lick of the tongue. These four just lay there… inert, so very, very weak. Mandy Store of TEARS took one look at the puppies and surged into action, saying that without immediate intervention, all four would be dead by the end of the day.
Just a few hours to save four sweet puppies!
The four near-dead babies were rushed to the TEARS clinic we support, while we started helping all the other hungry and sick animals roaming the streets.
Our visit was in conjunction with a local pastor’s feeding scheme for deprived children and many of the children had brought dogs and puppies so we could feed them too.
We fed so many, we ran out of dog food.
Lavender Hill is perhaps the most dangerous place in South Africa. More than 50,000 people are crammed into a space designed for 12,000. It is the headquarters of The Americans gang, a vicious bunch with links to the Nigerian mafia and Chinese triads, whose activities range from drug running and trading, abalone poaching, protection rackets and prostitution. Gangsters fight all-out wars and drive-by shootings are commonplace; animals, children and adults are frequently caught in gang-war crossfire.
Recently, in broad daylight, a gang leader was riddled with bullets from an automatic rifle, killed to gain a few square yards of sidewalk from which to deal drugs. His dog survived.
The people in Lavender Hill are poor, unemployment high and animals nowhere on anyone’s list of concerns except ours.
COVID has made a bad situation even worse!
And of course, it’s the animals who suffer most, dogs in particular. Dogs are almost never sterilized so endless generations of puppies are born to live nasty, short lives. There’s no vet in Lavender Hill so when a dog gets a disease, he or she spreads it until they die. And it just gets worse because those few people in Lavender Hill who could once afford a little food to help the dogs can no longer do so because the economy has crashed since COVID struck.
When faced with situations as bad as Lavender Hill, where there are more than 40,000 dogs and cats, it would be easy to say the problem is just too big. Not Network for Animals! We fight for every single animal life.
Dogs urgently need food in Lavender Hill and medical supplies are needed to help heal the ones we rescue. Please, if you possibly can, make a generous donation right now so we can help more dogs.
For the animals,
Brian and Gloria Davies (and Max and Flora!)
Network for Animals
P.S. The good news is that all four puppies are still alive. It’s touch and go but we are optimistic. It’s only because of support from animal lovers like you that these four puppies have a chance of survival and forever homes, far from the hell that nearly killed them. Your support is the only thing that makes our work possible and without you, puppies and dogs in places like Lavender Hill would be doomed. Please if you possibly can, donate generously to Network for Animals today.