Atlantis’s very own Dr Dolittle establishes petting zoo to fund animal rescue
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Cape Town - The love for animals has not only saved this former drug addict’s life, but has brought hope to an entire community.
Joshua Swarts, 42, from Avondale in Atlantis, founded Horse Pals Atlantis, a non-profit organisation, in 2018.
Swarts, who was enslaved by drugs for more than 10 years, cleaned up his act and made his dream a reality.
He has since spread his love for animals with the children in the community and has taught them how to save and protect man’s best friends.
Speaking to African News Agency (ANA), Swarts said he started Horse Pals to give children a sense of responsibility, which in turn would teach them to act respectfully towards the next person.
Initially, Swarts only focused on horses in the Atlantis and surrounding areas; however, he has since been called upon by the community so many times that he has expanded this to any animal.
“Since Horse Pals Atlantis was established, the group of children who have joined the rescue has increased and we have about 30 children and just about 50 parents involved in the organisation,” Swarts told ANA.
Swarts is known as Atlantis’s very own Dr Dolittle. Be it via social media or a phone call, residents who struggle with injured, ill or stray animals call on him for assistance.
While the hours may not always be pleasant, Swarts has never turned down an opportunity to assist an animal.
His organisation, which relies heavily on donations, got him thinking.
“I realised to just ask for donations was not fair.
“We had a piece of land and I thought why not generate some money from the land.
“God told me to start a petting zoo,” Swarts told ANA.
He said he initially brought in fluffy rabbits but thought to go bigger.
“I have been going to many farms and buying animals. Thus far we have horses, bunnies, goats, turkeys and more.
“I have had a small opening for a crèche and a group of older persons just to see whether it would be a good idea, and it was.
“I would have loved to open in May. However, I would like some more animals such as llamas and alpacas to join the petting zoo family. Therefore, we will, hopefully, open by June,” Swarts told ANA.
All funds generated by the petting zoo will be used to fund the rescue.
The petting zoo is located just outside Atlantis in Saxonworld, along Dassenberg Road.
Visitors to the petting zoo can expect to feed the animals, enjoy pony rides, groom horses and enjoy live music.
African News Agency (ANA)