Cape Town 31-03-04 -Uitsig Animal Shelter.Denay Saunders with some of her dogs she cares for. Picture Brenton Geach

Staff Writer

A Durbanville animal rescue centre employing 15 workers and caring for 500 rehabilitated dogs faces closure as the property housing the centre is earmarked for development.

Uitsig Animal Rescue Centre in Fisantekraal is making way for the Greenville Garden City housing development.

The project for 2 800 houses to accommodate gap market, social housing and finance- linked housing has been approved in terms of town planning regulations.

The project’s cost amounted to R382 million over the next three years.

Uitsig Animal Rescue Centre manager and founder Denay Saunders said: “Our problem is that we have nowhere to go. We were kind of taken by surprise by the move. It’s depressing because in three months all these dogs will either be dead or back on the streets fighting for a piece of food. I brought these dogs here because I care for them. They became so part of the house here.”

Saunders said a new shelter would cost close to R5m and a fund-raising campaign has so far raised only R13 000.

“We have started a fund-raising programme that needs R5m to buy permanent piece of land and build a new place for the dogs.

“We need about R80 000 a month to run operations and we have about R50 000,” she said yesterday.

The centre, established in 2009, cares for abused dogs, strays and dogs owners cannot care for.

Saunders turned a house she was renting into a shelter for the animals.

“I never intended to turn my place into a dog care centre. I was a vet at the time and brought stray dogs home with me almost every night,” she said.

“About 80 percent of the dogs in this place are from the township. These are dogs that have been abused or neglected. The other dogs come from people who bring them in or people who cannot look after them anymore,” she said.

Saunders said she understands the need for housing, but said she had nowhere else to put up a shelter for the animals.

“We have worked with the developers very well but we have to understand that they have their own objectives. They have donated this land for us and we tried becoming part of the development. These ideas I will take forward with the developer,” she said.

In a letter to Saunders, manager of the Uitzich Farm Willem Lotter said: “Garden Cities is already planning phase 2 of the Greenville Garden City and it will not be long before the dog shelter comes into the firing line.

“The shelter will have to close down and you (Saunders) need to start making alternative arrangements.”