TEARS Animal Rescue Issues Urgent COVID-19 Pet Food Appeal to Assist Vulnerable Communities

Following the announcement of the COVID-19 Lockdown and the economic impact on low income communities, TEARS Animal Rescue has launched a COVID-19 Pet Food Appeal to Cape Town based manufacturers to donate surplus edible pet food in response to the increase in requests from pet owners living in vulnerable communities as they struggle to feed their pets.

Says TEARS Animal Rescue General Manager, Lauren Carlyle, “We cannot underestimate the impact that the COVID-19 Lockdown is having on the most vulnerable members of our society, and have therefore launched a Province-wide appeal to address what is fast becoming an animal welfare crisis. The reality is that many people have been retrenched or been put on unpaid leave for the next three weeks, which has dire consequences on the people living on or near the breadline. We’re receiving dozens of pleas for help from pet owners in vulnerable communities who say they won’t be able to feed their pets over the coming weeks.”

TEARS issued a statement as part of a strategic communication campaign at the beginning of March, to emphasise the fact that animals have no direct connection with the spreading of the COVID-19 virus. Despite this, an increasing number of people have started to dump their pets after the release of fake news and misinformation surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic. This, coupled with the fact that economic downturns always result in increased rates of pet neglect, starvation and abandonment, means that the organisation will remain on high-alert over the Lockdown period to support animals in need. In 2018 over 500 cats and dogs were surrendered or picked-up as strays by TEARS, and last year this number increased to 683.

“Based on our experience, and as conditions continue to deteriorate, we expect to see a massive increase in the number of cats and dogs being surrendered, abandoned or left to starve as owners struggle to feed their own families. Dogs that are restrained on ropes and chains, to provide some sense of security to their owners, are often left without adequate food and care, and will most likely die slow and painful deaths, either from starvation or disease; and most often, both,’ says Carlyle.

Registered as an essential service during the Lockdown, and with its established infrastructure and operational footprint in low income communities in the Southern Peninsula of the Western Cape (namely Vrygrond, Ocean View, Redhill, and Masiphumelele), TEARS is able to collect and redistribute all pet food donations it receives to address the most critical needs in the communities it serves. Any surplus will be shared with other animal welfare organisations across Cape Town.

Says TEARS Operations Manager, Mandy Store, “We will be contacting our suppliers and partners directly with a request for assistance. All pet food donations received will be distributed to community leaders for redistribution in impoverished communities. We’ll work closely with other animal welfare organisations across Cape Town to make sure we’re able to coordinate a collective response to the increasing demand for assistance across the Province .”

While TEARS Animal Rescue will remain closed to the public for the duration of the Lockdown, it will continue to ambulance sick and injured companion animals, and rescue stray and abandoned pets within its operational footprint.

In the case of emergencies only please call or SMS 071 864 4849.

TO HELP SAVE LIVES PLEASE DONATE AT: https://tears.org.za/donate/