The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has excluded animal welfare as a priority for funding in the 2022/23 financial year.
Karen de Klerk, the chairperson of the Cape Animal Welfare Forum, told the Daily Maverick in October that NLC’s decision was ignorant of the risks this posed to disease prevention and control, especially in informal settlements where animals could spread diseases to humans.
Local animal welfare organizations such as Spay a Stray say the decision will have a devastating effect.
Founder and chairperson Louise Impey said: “It will be devastating as animal welfares receive no government support and seldom from corporates.
“With Lotto also withdrawing, the crisis will increase even further, with the possible closure of facilities relying on funds to stay afloat.
“Without funding, animal welfare simply cannot exist. Unlike humans, domesticated animals can do nothing to help themselves and are totally reliant on human assistance.
“They [NLC] do not see the devastating results of their actions. But a few days within the fields that we work, experiencing the horrors first-hand would see them doubling their funding and not withdrawing it.”
Impey said domestic dogs and cats should be sterilized to curb the increasing number of animals born into hunger, illness, neglect, and abuse.
Through the efforts of Spay a Stray, thousands of local domestic animals and humans have been spared exposure to diseases such as pyometra, mammary cancers, and mange, however, the organization’s work is only possible through funding.
“Without funding, we would not have been able to sterilise the thousands of female dogs and cats which we have, nor saved countless lives through medical intervention,” she said.
“The help they [domestic animals] often require is specialised, such as sterilisation and medical treatment. There is no alternative to using a vet which comes at a great cost.”
Tessa Boyd, from Pet Pals East London, added: “With the ripple effect of Covid, we have less people being in a financial position to donate dog food and we have found a decrease in the number of adoptions as people do not have the money to take on the added expense of a pet.
“We use 60kg of dog pellets a day as well as tinned food.
“The food is a massive expense as well as obviously salaries for our staff.
“We desperately want each and every person to realise and understand that no matter how small their donation, if we could put it all together we would be so much closer to being able to cover our monthly costs.”