Animal Cruelty is Unacceptable!


The world can sometimes be a very harsh place for all of us, not least of all, for animals, who cannot speak for themselves nor take care of themselves if held in captivity or outside their natural environments. Domestic animals rely on us to instil security, warmth, nourishment and love on them.

One of the most distressing stories of late was about the helpless giraffe that died while being transported on a Gauteng highway. Can anyone really be so negligent and so cruel as to transport tall animals on an open truck without anyone riding shotgun to check all is well? Surely not? But yet, it happened and it must have been an awful end to the poor giraffe!

Then there’s the story of the trapped dog that howled for two weeks before someone finally tracked him down and rescued the emaciated, desperate animal. Who does that? Why would you do that? To us animal advocates, it is impossibly cruel, almost beyond comprehension.

A woman was recently beaten while trying to stop someone abusing a dog. She said it had been worth it. She saved the dog’s life.

Parading animals in circuses and using them for the sole benefit of entertaining us humans is not okay. Not in any which way or form. Please, don’t support these circuses, rather allow your little ones to see animals in their natural environment such as game reserves and even allow them to sit in the garden at home and watch the birds flitter by in the sky and trees above. There is enough entertainment these days in all shapes and forms so as to let the animals held in captivity to break free from the chains of neglect and abuse.

All animals, great or small have the right to the 5 freedoms in life, as do all human beings. They are just simple freedoms that all living beings should be entitled to. Animals have beating hearts and blood flowing through their veins. They need us to take care of them, nurture them and most importantly, to love them as we do one of our own.

What are the Five Freedoms?

  1. Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition.
  2. Freedom from discomfort.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress

And a sixth…

Freedom to be free

Let’s all stand together and prevent cruelty to all animals that grace this beautiful earth of ours. We CAN make a difference.

On a more positive note: Don’t forget to come along and join in the fun at our annual Spring Fling/Cupcake Day on the 6th September at our Main Street Centre, 39 Main Street, Howick. Bring along your cupcakes in aid of animal welfare and you could win a prize for the “best dressed” cupcakes! A cupcake decorating competition and an icing demonstration will be on the cards too! We still have a few places left for stall holders so book now to avoid disappointment. Call Bronwyn on 033-3306548 for more info on this.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

uMngeni SPCA needs YOU!

handWith economic times as tough as nails, we are feeling the crunch more than ever. As much as we are here for the animals, and always will be, we are completely dependent on you, the Public and Private/Corporate Sector for funds to assist us in making sure that the welfare of all animals, currently and in the future are treated with kindness, compassion, respect and loyalty. The idea of any kind of cruelty to any animal is abhorrent and totally unacceptable, on every level.

The SPCA receives no funding from national government and all SPCA branches are required to source funding from their own communities to survive.

The uMngeni SPCA needs YOUR help. YOU have the power to prevent and control the spread of people/animal diseases in the poorer areas. Worms, mange and rabies from animals can be transferred to humans and in the rural areas, this is a huge problem.

Your donation will enable your SPCA to extend their services where it is needed the most. The health of both humans and animals alike is of the utmost importance to us. Funding received by you will be used to treat diseases in animals being transferred to people.

How can you help? Well, by donating money to our Society, you will be assisting in ensuring that the spread of diseases is controlled. There is a symbiotic relationship between humans and animals so by donating funds to us, we can help more people in the rural areas contain and control diseases spread by poor health care and less than nutritious food by animals.

We are driven by the people who support us, coming to our events and being involved in the events, helps us raise funds for much needed animal welfare.

Folk, we really, really need you. We are suffering from the economic crisis and need your financial support to allow the Society to continue doing the work we do. We need sponsorships, donations and perhaps, a well-known Patron (Nelson Mandela was the NSPCA’s Patron) who will bring awareness to our cause.

If you can help in any way, please be so kind as to contact me, Tess Fernandez, for more information on this.  I can be reached on 076 301 4827 or via email on

You will not only be doing something for the SPCA, but for yourselves too. Nothing is more rewarding than charity and knowing that your hard earned money is working to prevent cruelty and distress to humans and animals alike.

Thank you.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

Ps – Don’t forget you can collect a 1000 Paws Sponsorship form from any one of our local retail outlets or download it from our website – your support would be most appreciated.

Interacting with wild animals

june16The ethics of interaction programmes involving wild animals have started to be questioned more often in today’s times. Claims of it being done in the name of conservation and education are often heard. But is there any truth in this?

In order to contribute to the conservation of a species, rehabilitation and release of animals should be a priority. However, in almost all of these facilities in which animal interactions take place, animals are bred intensively but are never released. Further the welfare of the animals is often severely undermined in a number of ways.

Females are often forced to have young more often than they would in the wild in order to have a constant supply of cute babies to be used for interactions. This is done by removing the babies when they are just a few days old to be hand raised so that they can be “tamed.” The females then immediately go into heat again and are bred again. This continuous breeding of the females often takes a major toll on their bodies.

The young animals are also seriously compromised by being removed so early from their mothers. They are often fed an inadequate diet which results in their immune systems becoming compromised and the animals are placed at an increased risk of becoming ill.

These young animals are then forced to endure hours of being touched and petted. This not only places them at risk of injury but also disease transmission from humans and vice versa (zoonosis). Once too big to be interacted with the animals are seen as surplus and are often kept in sub-standard conditions or sent off to elsewhere to face an uncertain end. Male lions often end up in the canned hunting industry and the females are fed back into the facilities to continue breeding. And so the cycle continues.

Education plays little role as many of the facilities do not even provide information regarding the species and life in the wild. Furthermore by touching and playing with wild animals the message that they are cute cuddly animals that can be kept as pets or in captivity is portrayed.

The number of animal attacks at facilities that offer interactions is on the increase. People become complacent around these animals and forget that they are wild and dangerous animals which results in injury or even death.

Touching and handling and riding of wild animals is a completely unnatural practice as human contact and interaction is not tolerated or accepted by wild animals in their natural environments. It is therefore completely abnormal and immoral to put animals into a situation whereby they are continuously subjected to conditions that are completely unnatural to them. The welfare of these animals should not be compromised for these facilities to increase their profits.

Please think twice before supporting facilities that allow or encourage hands on interactions with captive wild animals.

(This article is courtesy of the National Council of SPCA’s.)

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

We Thank You


As a picture is worth 1000 words, every now and again, we like to let the photographs “do the talking”, so to speak, and thank all the very generous and kind folk that live in our community, who tirelessly think of the animals in our care, and quietly go about their business, raising money, food, blankets and prizes to donate to us. We wish to thank each and every person and company that have heeded the call for pet food and biscuits from us and that have gone out of their way to ensure we keep going and continue to make a difference in all animal’s lives. There are so many people to always thank and we do our very best to thank everyone so these are just a couple of pics from the people in the community that support us and sustain us. We extend our heartfelt thanks to each and every one who donates to us and implore you to please keep the animals in mind when the urge to give hits you. We appreciate it all.


Until next time, take care, Tess Fernandez PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

Don’t buy, ADOPT!!

loveTo give another homeless pet, a loving, happy home is so important.  Many people feel that buying a pure bred pet is the way to go, but, this has many drawbacks.  After sharing my story of the loss of our beloved dog last week, I got to thinking. Whilst my family and I are not quite ready to welcome a new dog into our home, we certainly will at some stage. The thought of being able to give a happy, healthy and safe home to a homeless dog or cat in which she will grow old, warms my animal loving heart to its core.

Country-wide there are countless animals needing homes, and we are very lucky to have a great SPCA kennel operation right here in Howick. Every day, we see many animals come in that have either been surrendered, rescued, lost or found. Every day, our staff care for these animals with the utmost respect and love. We are blessed to have our very own Veterinarian who goes beyond the call of duty to treat the injured, and check the healthy.

There has been a longstanding debate amongst dog lovers and experts alike on the merits of a mixed-breed versus a purebred puppy. Those who are devoted to mixed breed dogs feel that they are hardier and more inclined to have steady temperaments and make devoted pets. They also believe that a mixed-breed dog – or cat – usually has a reduced chance of inheriting a congenital disease. We like to refer to our pets in waiting not as cross, or mixed, breeds but rather as unique breeds.   Each one is unique and special.

The first place to look for any new pet to be part of your family should always be at the SPCA kennels in Campbell Road, Howick.  The cost of a dog or cat is limited to the modest adoption fee which includes spay/neuter and vaccination.  There is something particularly heart-warming about knowing you have given a second chance to an animal that looked at every passer–by with hope in their eyes.

At the end of the day, how your new pet turns out will depend very much on how you raise him or her.  Puppies will need patient and ongoing training to become a real pleasure to own. Proper health care is essential from the word go.   With the gentle and loving guidance of a committed owner, almost any kind of dog will grow into a reliable and loving companion.

So please don’t shop for a kitten or puppy, adopt from us and enjoy a lifetime of joy with your SPCA special; they will be there for you always. Visit our kennels at 15 Campbell Rd, Howick to view the animals that are waiting for their forever homes.

Until next time, take care,

Tess Fernandez   PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

When it’s time to say goodbye…

Havanna, our beautiful Staffie, who protected and loved us unconditionally.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved pet, someone who is so part of a family, that when they are no longer there, you experience grief in varying degrees, anger as to why it had to happen and guilt for thinking more could have been done. My family and I have just recently had to make the very gruelling, heart breaking decision to humanely euthanize a very much loved and precious member of the family, when Havanna, our 11 year old Staffie became very ill. She had been failing for a while, battling to walk and she was going blind in her left eye. Then, our poor old girl began vomiting up blood. We rushed her to the vet and he told us she probably had cancer in her stomach. She was extremely nauseous and going downhill very quickly.

My son and his girlfriend were thankfully, home from University for a recess and as Havanna was very much their doggie (she slept in the bed and shadowed them both around day and night), I told them that it was a decision they had to make. To come to terms with either going through a ton of tests and treatments, prolonging her suffering and pain, or to humanely peacefully let her go. By this stage, Havanna was dehydrating from vomiting so much and the vet needed to know whether he must begin trying to find out what exactly was wrong (although he had told us she was very aged and her organs were failing) or whether to put her out of her suffering.

It was decided that the kids go back to the vet to see Havanna and they would make the decision there. The minute they walked into the consulting room, they saw that Havanna had deteriorated even more and as they looked into her beautiful, soft brown eyes, they suddenly knew what to do. They would gently hold and love her whilst she fell asleep, for eternity.

Our loyal, loving, funny Havanna quietly went to sleep just a few minutes later. She left a hole in our lives the minute she took her last breath. We all cried and cried, for what seemed like hours and hours, all huddled together in our grief and pain. When we couldn’t cry another tear, we talked about her, the funny little mannerisms we would miss, her love for roast chicken and cheese, and what a truly special family member she had been, for 11 long, loyal, lovely years. We had been so blessed to have her belong to us and we mourned the loss of our precious furry friend for a long time.

Our sympathetic vet said something very special. He said that animals come to us for such a short period of time because they are such blessings and God wants them back quicker. Yes, they ARE blessings and they deserve only love, a good life and happiness.

RIP our dear Havanna; we will miss you very much.

Remember to cherish the moments you have with your beloved pets, always.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez

PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

“Thank you.”

thank youThose two little words (or “thanks” if you want to be quick about it) can mean a lot. Or, depending on how you wield them, they can mean almost nothing. Just like “How are you?” or “I love you,” “Thank you” is a phrase that can hold great weight or have all the heft and permanence of a morning fog.

In our case, Thank You holds great weight. So much weight that our gratitude and appreciation knows no boundaries!

We recently sent out an urgent Appeal for community members and animal lovers to come forward and donate dog food to our kennels in Campbell Road, Howick, Through Facebook and the Village Talk, we humbly asked kind people to donate a bag of biscuits or dog tinned food to assist us in feeding the huge amount of animals in our care, mainly dogs as we had had a lot of Biliary cases in the hot months, coming in needing treatment. These animals need to stay at our clinic for a few days in order to ensure they receive treatment and care. They needed food morning and evening, so our food stock began to run rather low. On average, we have over 500 dogs coming through the clinic monthly as we also have a very active Outreach Sterilization Project.

The response we received was incredible, to say the least! The day after the appeal went out on Facebook; many people came and dropped off food and money for us to buy food. This continued over the next few days and we were overwhelmed by the generous spirit of folk in our communities. After the appeal came out in the Village Talk we then received another huge batch of food from people and companies alike. Wow!!! Thank you to each and every one of you that rushed to our aid and saved us from having to go and buy food with money that we would rather use to actually treat the animals that come in. We remain eternally grateful to all you fierce Animal Warriors for every bag and every tin you so generously donated to us.

If every person in Howick and Hilton would donate just one bag of dog food or a can every month to us at the kennels, we will never be in the situation we recently found ourselves in. Please think about it and please continue to assist us with this food drive.

At this time, more than ever, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress for animals possible. And in this spirit we say, simply but sincerely – Thank You.

On another note: Our Golf Day raffle will be out in shops and stores soon. First prize is a sturdy dog house made and donated by Stephen Arpin for the raffle. R5 will buy you a ticket to win this splendid dog house or a bottle of whiskey so look out for the raffle sheets in town and please support it.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez         Public Relations Officer/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPA

Out and about with our Trees of Love

treeIt’s that time of the year again, when we celebrate Christmas our way! By spreading good cheer and the gift of giving, we hope to always make a difference to the lives of all animals.

Once again, our Trees of Love are out and about in Howick and Hilton this week. If you haven’t seen them outside one of the various venues, offering a pretty card to place a message of remembrance or just to honour the pets in your lives, please support the drive whilst you pop into your favourite shop. The cards are only R5 each so you can write a message to all your beloved furry and feathered friends. The trees are available at the following venues until (and including) the 14th of December:

Wednesday 11th December – Pick n Pay, Howick and the Grapevine, Howick

Friday 13th December – Greendale Spar, Howick and Woolworths, Hilton

Saturday 14th December – Pick n Pay, Howick and Quarry Spar, Hilton

Saturday 14th December – Farmers Market, Howick

On the 20th December, our Tree of Love will also be at the Piggly Wiggly Evening Market. Come and enjoy a fun filled evening from 3pm to 8pm of night shopping, carols by candlelight, live entertainment and gifts by Father Christmas. We will be selling these gift boxes for boys and girls for R40 per box. You can pre-book your box by calling our SPCA Fundraising Centre on 033 330 6548 or email us at Bookings are available until the 16th December and boxes will also be on sale at the event. It promises to be a very cheery Christmas affair!

Hope to see you all at our Tree of Love venues and at Piggly Wiggly for a celebration of love, lights and furry support.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA

Fearsome Fireworks!!

fireworksThe National Council of SPCAs is issuing an appeal to everyone with regard to fireworks over the forthcoming Diwali and Guy Fawkes period. In a couple of months we also celebrate New Year’s Eve.

The appeal is for restraint. Diwali is the Festival of Light and its beauty is inherent. Loud bangs form no part of it. Guy Fawkes has no relevance to South Africa and it is questioned why it is “celebrated” at all.

Laws relating to the use of fireworks are watertight with the Explosives Act covering the sale of fireworks and the discharge of fireworks in public places. With regard to discharging fireworks on private property, this falls under local by-laws which vary. In some Municipalities, permits are required, in other areas there is dispensation for Diwali between specified times.

It is illegal to sell fireworks in the open air.

Concerns relate to the safety and welfare of animals. Anyone with an animal is requested to be responsible and to ensure the animal’s safety and comfort. The hearing of animals is far more acute and sensitive than the hearing of a human. If a dog can hear a grasshopper eat, imagine what a firework sounds like.

Stay with your pets. Keep them indoors. If an animal is sensitive by nature, then consult your veterinarian for advice. Do not give medication intended for humans to animals and above all, ensure that animals are not in danger of harming themselves if they bolt – even indoors – or react when a firework is discharged in the area. Despite regulations and appeals for calm, this can occur.

This opportunity is taken to ask everyone to ensure that animals have identification.

Hooligan, dangerous and illegal behaviour relating to fireworks needs to be reported to the South African Police Service, giving full details, or to the Municipal Traffic Police if they enforce by-laws in that specific area.

On behalf of the SPCA movement in South Africa, we extend good wishes to everyone celebrating Diwali and we trust that this year, the celebrations will be in accordance with the true spirit of the Festival of Light: – beauty, light, love and above all, compassion.

(Adapted from Media Release issued by our National SPCA)

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO/Fundraiser for uMngeni SPCA


LogoUmngeniSPCAMany of you may have heard of Outreach KZN but do not really know what it is all about.   It is a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Animal Welfare Organisations in KZN. Animals from the indigent areas are the beneficiaries of the Project through the participation of their local animal welfare organisations.

The purpose of this partnership is the eradication of Rabies in KZN, through the mass vaccination of domestic animals.   Going hand in hand with the vaccination campaign is the mass sterilisation of the vaccinated animals – principally dogs. There is little point in vaccinating most of the dog population if they are left unsterilised to produce puppies which will be unvaccinated.   Controlling the numbers is key to the success of the campaign to eradicate rabies.   To assist the Animal Welfare Organisations, the Department pays for the sterilisation of these animals from the indigent/rural areas only.

The uMngeni SPCA has always had a very strong Outreach ethos.   With the funding from the Department, we saw the opportunity to reach out to far more animals than would ever have been possible with our limited funding.

The Project started on the 1st June 2012.   uMngeni SPCA’s monthly quota paid for by the Department was then 70 sterilisations per month. As time went on our numbers increased and Project Co-ordinator Hilda Hermann, increased our quota to what we could submit per month. We now average between 250 and 300 Outreach sterilisations per month. The amount paid to the SPCA’s, covers fuel, wear and tear on vehicles and drugs for the procedure.

We do urge other Animal Welfare Organisations, including SPCAs, to take advantage of this unique opportunity to get this financial support and be able to do the work that we should all be doing.   Using our proven methods of engagement in rural/indigent areas they will be amazed at what they can achieve. Respect cultural differences and the owner’s right to decide what is best for his animal, as long as there is no suffering involved. You will not need to use the Law to assist animals, your relationship with the community will open doors for you.

The uMngeni SPCA has achieved great success with the Project, because we drive it.  Monetary contributions alone are not sufficient, it needs committment and passion. Animal welfare workers who view outreach as a less important part of their job will not experience the reward of engaging with communities to make a significant improvement in the lives of animals.

The people you have helped become your contacts in the communities, actively promoting the work of the SPCA. When animals are being returned after surgery it can take time, as you are constantly being stopped by people wanting assistance with sterilisation/treatment, surrender of unwanted animals or alerting you to an animal in need.

Checking on ex patients is the best part of working with these communities. The animals spend only a few days with us, but in that time we nurture them and they never forget. You are pounced on and smothered in licks.   It is wonderful to see how overjoyed they are to see you. This relationship filters down to the owners, who are amazed at the affection lavished on you by their animals and, over time, we see a difference in their own handling of their animals.

Dudu Abraham, Operations Manager, uMngeni SPCA

Meet the team

Edith Powell

Edith PowellEdith is a key volunteer who plays a valuable role as Secretary of the Events Committee, Co-Chairperson of the Catering Sub-Committee and also assists in our Library. She is a huge asset to us in every way.