File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – As the festive season gets going, animal organisations are already experiencing an influx of stray and abandoned pets. 

Every year the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha receives a high number of dogs and cats in the weeks leading up to Christmas as people start travelling for the holidays.

Fundraising and communications manager Marcelle du Plessis said the clinic, which has a very small shelter programme, can cater for only 30 dogs and cats but currently has over 60 stray animals.

“The festive season is the hardest time of the year at Mdzananda and we are concerned that this will be the busiest compared to other years because we’re already over capacity. 

"The clinic is an NPO veterinary clinic and not specifically a shelter. Currently we have 33 stray cats in our small facility and 28 in foster care,” said Du Plessis.

Two weeks ago, 11 dogs were abandoned at the organisation.

Five newborn puppies were also admitted to their hospital and stray programme.

Recently, a heavily pregnant bitch was brought in by a young boy. She had been left at the boy’s house by neighbours who were renting.

On the same day the organisation’s general manager found a small dog dumped outside the clinic’s yard.

Three dogs were handed over to the organisation the next day, by their owners.

“People go on holiday not having solutions for their pets. Those pets are abandoned, handed over to us or even thrown over our walls at night.

“The influx, with limited space, places pressure on our staff, and causes financial strain.

“It costs us about R1 530 to keep a stray pet for two months. This includes their sterilisation, vaccinations, tick treatment and food.

“While some can stay longer if they don’t find homes, keep in mind we have to pay for maintenance, water bills and staff,” said Du Plessis.

Animal Welfare Society spokesperson Allan Perrins said they were experiencing the same issues.

To be a foster parent or adopt a pet, Mdzananda Animal Clinic can be contacted on 082 251 0554 or 021 367 600. Alternatively email [email protected]

Du Plessis can also be reached at [email protected] or 082 251 0554 for donations.

The Animal Welfare Society can be contacted on 021 692 2626.

Cape Times