Tough times for TEARS

Staff from Tears at work with their mobile clinic.

The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) is cutting back many of its welfare services until the end of March, when it will re-evaluate its financial situation.

The organisation, whose services are critical to the welfare of animals in the southern Cape Peninsula, is short of money because of a spike in the number of animals needing its help without a corresponding increase in income.
Mandy Store, Tears operations manager who oversees the organisation’s clinics and animal care unit, says: “Abuse of animals has shot up in the last two years. We’re seeing a severe increase in both passive abuse, which typically takes the form of starvation, untreated illnesses and lack of shelter for animals from extreme heat and cold; to active abuse – beatings, drowning, strangulation and rape.”

“Nothing could have prepared us for the explosion of animal abuse we’re seeing. This includes the deliberate setting of fires to our mountains which has had a serious effect on our wildlife,” said Ms Store.

Ms Store said the organisation’s dedicated outreach staff were regularly threatened with knives, guns, machetes and hijackings in the course of their work; but the worst thing imaginable is to have to turn away an animal, who urgently needs help, because they lack the funds to intervene.

Tears’ on-site community clinic and mobile units carry out 9 000 medical procedures on average each year, saving countless dogs and cats from the results of abuse, disease and injury.

Tears spokeswoman Tracy Gilpin, says: “By taking the situation in hand now, we hope to be in a position to re-evaluate our financial situation at the end of March and get back to our full service offering.

“In the meantime, we’ve ramped up fund-raising activity, using every tool at our disposal to increase our income. But we’re not going to be able to do this without the help of people who care about the worsening plight of animals across the Western Cape.” The organisation will continue to rehabilitate the animals already in its care – and will treat those from low income households whose guardians are able to pay for their treatment – which will continue to be charged at welfare rates.

The organisation last week launched an urgent Tears clinic appeal to off-set the R2.7 million it costs each year to keep its community and mobile clinics operating at their headquarters in Sunnydale, and surrounding areas of Masiphumelele, Vrygrond, Ocean View and Red Hill.

Ms Gilpin says: “As a pro-quality-of-life, non-profit organisation, we need the support of caring individuals and corporates to financially back the brave and selfless work of our staff and volunteers, to save animals from abuse and neglect.

“We remain optimistic about our future and will work harder than ever to keep doing the life-saving work we’ve been doing since we opened our doors in 1999.”

Individuals and businesses who would like to support Tears can visit its website: http://tears.org.za/tears-clinic-appeal/ for details

If you would like to contribute to other aspects of Tears’ work and mission, contact the organisation at tears@tears.org.za or call 021 785 4482.