The Bloemfontein SPCA team: Photo: Supplied (SPCA)
Durban’s SPCA is appealing to eThekwini Municipality to make good on promises of R13million for the work they carry out in the city, failing which, a gap in the services could mean increased risk of rabies and stray animals.

The SPCA said despite repeated requests for meetings, it had heard nothing concrete from the city since August.

eThekwini municipality said yesterday that its health unit was still finalising the memorandum of agreement with the SPCA, before any money could be paid.

“Despite the fact that Exco approved SPCA funding, to date the SPCA has not received a cent. We saw the city’s press release that the approved figure is R13m over three years for the three branches, and that Exco had mandated the health unit to facilitate the agreement. This remains unconfirmed as we have not received any direct communication from them,” said Caroline Smith, general manager for Durban and Coast SPCA.

During the past year, Smith said, SPCA branches took in 34000 stray animals on behalf of the city.

“We are carrying the costs of impounding and the effect of non-funding, even for a month, has a devastating effect on our finances. We are a non-profit organisation and we rely entirely on public funding in order to fight animal cruelty and neglect and to prosecute cruel owners,” she said.

With the prolonged waiting period for money, Smith said the situation could become dire.

“If left unattended, these strays would breed and these figures would increase exponentially. The impounding of strays is also containment of disease, and in light of the current rabies epidemic in KwaZulu-Natal, is absolutely critical.”

Municipal spokesman Mandla Nsele said: “The health unit is still in the process of finalising the details of the agreement.”