Pandemic leaves pets out in the cold

Tears is battling to cope with the number of pets starving and exposed to the cold.

In the grip of this Cape winter and the Covid-19 pandemic, alarming numbers of pets are dying from hypothermia and severe malnutrition, says an animal shelter.

The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) rescued two newborn puppies in Ocean View recently after a heavy rainstorm led to the death of the rest of their litter.

Tears operations manager Mandy Store said 60% of current animal surrenders at the organisation were due to the economic devastation of Covid-19.

The sad reality was that winter had always been hard on pets in poor communities, Ms Store said. “But the knock-on effect of Covid and the loss of income for so many pet owners has made a bad situation even worse,” she said.

Despite giving kennels, blankets, and additional pet food when these are available, the Tears veterinary hospital says it continues to see pets dying because of exposure to the elements, hypothermia and severe malnutrition.

Hypothermia is when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerously low body temperature.

Tears is battling to cope with the alarming number of starving and hypothermic homeless animals it rescues daily and it is appealing to the public to help feed hungry pets in needy communities.

The organisation rescues and treats about 1050 animals a month.

The head of marketing and fund-raising for Tears, Lara Van Rensburg, asked for the public’s support through the organisation’s Give Warmth Campaign.

“Sponsoring one bag of pet food for one hungry community pet, for a month, costs R150. This campaign not only raises awareness for the harsh realities faced by homeless animals but, by giving to the campaign, supporters are able to create a tangible impact by changing the life of an animal in need,” she said.

Visit for more about the campaign. Email Tears at or call 021 785 4482

These newborn puppies were rescued in Ocean View by Tears after the rest of their litter died due to exposure after heavy rainfall.