TEARS evacuates animal shelter due to lockdown, urgent call for fosters

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With more than 100 dogs in their care, TEARS Animal Rescue is in need of foster families to help empty the shelter before the nationwide TEARS Animal Rescue, in Cape Town, has announced the evacuation of its animal shelter due to the nationwide lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday evening.

“TEARS Animal Rescue is evacuating our kennels in the wake of the 21-day national lockdown commencing at midnight on Thursday 26 March and ending at midnight on Thursday 16 April,” it said on its Facebook page.

Communities called on to help with #TheGreatEscape

With more than 100 dogs in their care, TEARS is calling on communities to help empty the shelter as responsibly and as soon as possible.

“Help us activate #TheGreatEscape by providing a foster home for one or more of our rescue dogs. We are looking for foster families who are prepared to care for and foster a dog or dogs for the duration of the lockdown,” it added.

To register as a foster family, please e-mail adoptions@tears.org.za. A member of the TEARS kennel team will call you to make arrangements. If you cannot foster, please donate to TEARS at https://tears.org.za/donate/

AWS halts human interaction in anticipation of coronavirus lockdown

The Animal Welfare Society (AWS) of South Africa took an early step in preventing human interaction by restricting services to emergencies only.

According to AWS resource development and communications officer Allan Perrins, this comes after the president’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

As of Thursday 26 March, AWS will further curtail its services and implement even tighter protocols to minimise human interaction as follows:

  • Our inspectorate department will accept calls but has suspended all appointments, off-site meetings and on site visits;
  • Our adoption centre will be closed to the public who are encouraged to visit our social media platforms to see what pets we have up for adoption. Online applications will be welcomed;
  • Our clinics will be closed to the public for all routine check-ups. We will only attend to life-threatening emergencies after screening requests telephonically;
  • Our theatre will suspend all elective procedures and operations; and
  • Our education and outreach projects will be suspended.

AWS SA’s CEO John McMullen has requested clarity from the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) as to what constitutes an essential veterinary service and what services will be allowed to continue during the lockdown.

“SAVA’s formal response is urgently awaited and may impact on these revised protocols,” said Perrins.

“We believe that during this unprecedented period of uncertainty in South Africa, the ‘sharpest arrow in our quiver’ is social isolation which forms the basis of these temporary emergency protocols,” he added.

AWS said that despite these “unavoidably draconian measures”, it will stay true to its mission, answer calls and help ensure that no animals suffer as a result of these extraordinary measures.

Precautionary tips for pet owners during coronavirus pandemic

Perrins also supplied a very helpful list of precautionary measures pet owners one can take to combat the coronavirus.

Pet owners should create a “preparednessplan” for their pets in the event that they are impacted by the coronavirus:

  • Identify a trusted family member or friend to care for your pets if someone in your household becomes ill or is hospitalised;
  • Research potential boarding facilities to utilise in the event boarding your pet becomes necessary;
  • Have pet crates, food and extra supplies for your pet on hand in case moving them becomes necessary or if the disease spreads in the community and it becomes necessary to reduce social exposure;
  • All animal vaccines should be up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary;
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering instructions. Including the prescription from the prescribing veterinarian is also helpful;
  • Pets should have identification including a collar with current identification tags and a registered microchip;
  • Keep food and water bowls clean at all times;
  • Do not allow strangers or anyone who has unwashed or dirty hands to pet or handle your pet; and
  • If you have a service animal such as a guide dog we would suggest that you do not allow strangers to feed, treat or cuddle your companion at this juncture.

AWS recommends staying diligent in preparations, but not overreacting to coronavirus concerns.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association states that there is no evidence that companion animals (cats and dogs) can be infected with or spread the coronavirus. This is also the view of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“As this is a rapidly evolving situation, people with confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with other people, as well as pets,” said Perrins