WHO we ARE
It’s no secret the Eastern Cape is one of the poorest provinces in South Africa and Sea Vista, like so many townships in our country, is a place where residents face a daily struggle to survive. Families, trapped in poverty, struggle to feed themselves, let alone their animals. Within Sea Vista and on the verges of busy roads skirting this settlement, not only hungry dogs but cows, pigs, chickens and goats, roam for food.
This desperate situation motivated the establishment of St Francis Animal Rescue – a charity run by a small group of volunteers, all of whom are passionate animal lovers.
Our focus is on working with people who live in Sea Vista – adults and children – and teaching them the value of loving, respecting and caring for their animals.
What we do
Every Thursday afternoon, promptly at 14.00, St Francis Animal Rescue Volunteers gather on an open field across from our local township of Sea Vista. By 14.30, the field is packed with dog and cat owners, both young and old and dozens and dozens of dogs who come to enjoy a meal and a drink of water before being bathed and groomed, sprayed for fleas and ticks, de-wormed and, when necessary, provided with simple, practical medical treatment. Very sick and wounded dogs are taken to our local welfare vet at the end of the afternoon. Our outreach is educational, social (for both humans and dogs), and the ideal way to develop lasting friendships and relationships with Sea Vista’s pet owners.
Open your eyes
The greatest challenge for any animal charity is to overcome the desperate problem of over-breeding which always leads to the neglect and cruelty of dogs and cats. St Francis Animal Rescue’s primary mission, driven through our ‘Open Your Eyes & Sterilize’ program, is to spay and neuter as many dogs and cats as possible to reduce puppy and kitten populations.
Our work, over six years of educating animal owners to realize the health and safety benefits of sterilization, is beginning to pay dividends. We are now at a stage where many Sea Vista residents are requesting sterilization of their pets once they reach the age of 6 months.
Chain Free Sea Vista
For any animal lover, the sight of a dog on a chain is deeply distressing and it’s hard to fathom why dogs are tethered and yet there are often practical reasons for this.
Sometimes the practice is used to keep the dog safe from other dogs. Or to stop the dog from running free and getting lost or hurt. In areas where pigs, goats or chickens roam, dogs are chained to prevent them attacking these animals.
St Francis Animal Rescue has devised a unique solution to free dogs from chains and work towards ending cruelty forever in Sea Vista.
Street by Street
St Francis Animal Rescue’s work extends beyond our weekly outreach. We regularly walk the streets of Sea Vista to become familiar with the different neighbourhoods and the people and animals who live in them. Our weekly walks through various suburbs of this township make us recognizable to people living there so they know who to contact when there is a problem with dogs or cats. These problems include animals being run-over on busy, crowded streets where motorists travel too fast. Dogs or cats injured through street fights with other animals. Cats threatened by neighbouring dogs. Our volunteers are always on the alert for animals in need of immediate help. This includes chained dogs, starved dogs and cats and animals who are obviously sick and need medical attention.
Feral & Domestic Cats
Two dedicated ‘Cat Ladies’, Jodi Kruger and Stella Plantinga, take care of the feral cats of St Francis Bay and domestic cats living in Sea Vista.
These women are our eyes and ears on the ground in terms of taking the very best possible care of wild cats roaming our village, and domesticated cats living in our local township.
The work of trapping, health-checking and sterilizing goes on, day and night, invisible to all but those who know and appreciate the commitment St Francis Animal Rescue has to making sure St Francis Bay is not completely over-run with breeding feral cats and the cat owners in our local community have all the help, advice and assistance they need to safeguard the health and happiness of their kittens and cats.
The Power of Education
One of St Francis Animal Rescue’s primary goals is to teach people how to love, care for and respect their animals and we believe fundamental change is possible through repetitive, consistent, accurate messaging from our volunteers.
We teach pet owners the importance of providing safe, weatherproof shelter for dogs living outdoors.
Where funds allow, we donate and build kennels and give bedding, towels, bowls, collars and leads donated to our charity by our supporters and fellow animal-lovers. We are always grateful for all donations of practical items for cat and dog owners.
Have A Heart
MakING a Donation
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”
What Drives Us
The volunteers of St Francis Animal Rescue are driven by a desire to sterilize as many cats and dogs as possible and prevent the breeding of unwanted kittens and puppies. Our ‘Open Your Eyes & Sterilize’ campaign, now in its 6th year, will always remain our primary goal and, on average, we sterilize 6-8 cats and dogs every week.
Working in collaboration with our ‘welfare’ vets, SFAR provides on going medical assistance for animals suffering from illness, wounds and the results of cruelty.
Other focus areas include feeding Sea Vista’s cats and dogs through ad hoc donations to impoverished families who need our help to feed their beloved animals. We also feed visiting dogs at every outreach and give all dog and cat owners’ free bags of pet food to take home. Stocks of subsidised food for cats and dogs are sold into local stores.
Through our program to remove chains from tethered dogs, we have released over 60 dogs over a period of two years.
Ultimately, however, our all-encompassing mission is to work together to do everything possible to improve the quality of life of the animals who live in Sea Vista.
Here’s what we achieved in January
- Our charity is always looking for new volunteers to join our Outreach and help bath and groom pups and dogs, spray kittens and puppies for fleas and ticks, assist where possible at our medical table and transport sick patients to the vet.
- We also need volunteers to join our SFAR ‘Transport Team’ and help us every Wednesday and Thursday, to drive Sea Vista dogs and cats to welfare vets in Humansdorp, and safely back home again.
- St Francis Animal Rescue has a team of fund-raisers who work together to come up with ideas to raise funds for our charity so that our work is sustainable. If you have a marketing background or enjoy sales, please join us.
- Donations of food, kennels, blankets, towels, feeding bowls, collars and leads and medical supplies are always most welcome.
- There is a drop-off point for cat and dog food donations in our local SPAR. All other donations can be left for us to collect at Toffee Clothing or Kouga Print in the village.
Outreach every Thursday
2pm – 4pm Sea Vista on land kindly loaned to our charity by local building company, ‘Jean Hugo Construction’.
THANKS TO LUSH CHARITY POT FOR FINDING 121 STERILIZATIONS AND VACCINATIONS OF SEA VISTA’S DOGS!
Charity Pot is a Lush Hand and Body Cream where 100% of all sales are distributed to groups working in Animal Protection, Environment and Human Rights.
Charity Pot grants offer funding to small grassroots groups because they struggle to find funding, and are best placed to make a real difference, with limited resources.
St Francis Animal Rescue gratefully received a wonderful donation of four thousand pounds, (just over R89, 000), from the Lush Charity Pot, to spend on a project called: ‘Open Your Eyes & Sterilize – Zwelitcha.’
From April this year until the end of September, we managed to sterilize and vaccinate a total of 121 male and female dogs to prevent breeding and the birth on unwanted puppies.
We focused our efforts on Zwelitcha and neighboring areas, an impoverished settlement where families struggle to feed their children, let alone their dogs.
Through ongoing education conducted via weekly walks through Zwelitcha and bordering areas, we spoke to dog owners about the health benefits of sterilizating their pets. Many people were concerned about neutering male dogs, believing that they lose ‘their power’, once they have been ‘closed’.
We proved this was not true by example. The only change in neutered dogs is a lack of desire to jump fences and go hunting for females. The dog’s personality remains unchanged though he may become calmer and more bonded with his human.
Spayed females stop breeding which, despite the fact that many dog owners sell puppies to supplement their income, is generally viewed as a benefit.
During our sterilization campaign, St Francis Animal Rescue Volunteers managed to build trust amongst a once suspicious and dubious community who initially questioned the validity of our intentions.
Thanks to ongoing interaction anc communication, we managed to persuade people to sterilize dogs and regularly visit our weekly Outreach on Taragonna Road, to have their dogs bathed, health-checked, treated for fleas and ticks and fed on site.
All dog owners visiting our outreach receive advice on care of their dogs and a free bag of food for each animal.
Without the kindness and generosity of the Lush Charity Pot, we would never have been able to sterilize and vaccinate so many dogs in just 6 months.
Our thanks to Lush from all St Francis Animal Rescue Volunteers and the dogs of Zwelitcha, Sea Vista