The life of a street dog can entail unimaginable suffering, particularly in South Africa’s urban slums where poverty is rife. Summer is just one of those dogs. Her life changed forever when she wandered onto a road in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, searching for food. She was mowed down by a motorist, who left her for dead.

The driver deliberately targeted Summer, swerving to strike her as she crossed the road. He hit her so hard, all the flesh was stripped from her foot, leaving broken bones exposed.

Network for Animals’ (NFA) David Barritt said: “Our team rescued her, but the driver escaped. No one paid any attention when this person rode over Summer and left her to die. And such cruelty is not unusual. We’ve seen dogs stoned, beaten, whipped and tortured for fun.”

“Summer was so badly injured her foot was amputated.”

Barritt said that he is increasingly concerned about casual cruelty to animals in the slum areas of South Africa. “South Africa has laws to protect animals but the police do not view this kind of behavior as a high priority and rarely investigate,” he said.

He added that a deteriorating economic situation in South Africa is aggravating the problem, saying that people can’t afford to feed their animals or to spay or neuter them. “This results in a swelling population of homeless street dogs who breed new generations of dogs with little to no chance of a normal life. Summer is one of the lucky ones, even though she lost a leg, we managed to find her a home.”

Barritt said NFA and other organizations are struggling to cope with the extent of the problem “and yet it is only the NGO community that provides any help at all for street dogs.”

The City of Cape Town is home to around 230,000 street dogs who wander around looking for food and shelter every day.