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Welcome to TEARS E-news autumn edition.

As temperatures drop, our minds turn to home; to glowing heaters and crackling fires, cosy socks and warm blankets, hot winter puddings and cuddles on the couch.

So we’ve put together a ‘home’ edition: beginning with a rather chilly exploration of the present state of home and homelessness for SA dogs and cats, and move into warmer stories of what people are doing, and can do, to help.

We know you care about animals so we share some of the numbers with you and give you the info you need if ever you, or someone you know, is faced with the heart-breaking dilemma of what to do when you have pets but too few finances or are faced with a move to a house or flat that doesn’t allow animals.

Of course, the last thing we want to do is talk AT you, so please get involved in the conversation – let us know what you think of these stories, if you have any questions or would like us to cover a topic for you. Get in touch by email or leave a message on Facebook or our website.

At the end of the day, it is TEARS and YOU who make the difference.  

In the time it takes you to read this newsletter, around 15,000 humans would have been born. That’s 360,000 human births each day, more than 53 million births so far this year. To put that into perspective: In 1955, the global human population was 2.8 billion; today it is 7.3 billion and is expected to increase to around 8 billion by 2025.

According to the National Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, some 795 million people today – that’s one in nine – suffer from chronic undernourishment.

It's not only human populations that continue to climb. Estimates of global dog populations are put at around 600 million and it’s the same for cats. The Ecology Global Network estimates a similar cat population to that of dogs. That’s a world dog and cat population of 1.2 billion.

So if human populations are expected to grow to around 8.1 billion by 2025, cat and dog populations could reach 1.6 billion by that year – an increase of 400 million dogs and cats in the next nine years.

Lethal combination for companion animals

Of course it follows that as human populations grow apace, the number of dogs and cats will increase right alongside these climbing figures - a trend that is of concern in itself. Add to this the fact that increasing numbers of people are moving from rural to urban areas, causing available space in cities to shrink, while traditional economic systems fail, resulting in less disposable income for increasing numbers of people. This is a lethal combination for companion animals.

Alarming increase in surrender statistics

TEARS’ statistics seem to confirm this alarming trend in animals surrendered to the organisation. (An animal is surrendered for several reasons: an owner agrees to surrender a dog or cat that has been severely mistreated or neglected, they can no longer afford to feed or care for the dog or cat, have gone abroad or moved to a property that is too small to accommodate a dog or does not allow animals.)

Surrenders (1 January to 16 March 2015):  10
Surrenders (1 January to 16 March 2016):  48

More homes needed

TEARS’ adoptions increased last year, but this was largely because the organisation put an enormous effort into its adoptions through careful rehabilitation of animals in its care in preparation for rehoming, along with marketing, events and clever use of digital platforms. But adoption stats are tricky things. Not only do they occur in cycles, often being literally dependent on the weather, but they are also reliant on a finite market: the couches of animal lovers, almost without fail, are crowded with rescued dogs and cats, and these wonderful people are only able to adopt anew when a beloved pet passes away. What can change the balance is education about the joys and social responsibility of adopting as opposed to buying or breeding.

Education: the long-term solution

Education around the evils of backyard breeding and the responsibility guardians owe their animals, alongside increased policing of animal cruelty and far greater resources dedicated to animal welfare, are the only ways to begin to stem the tide of animal suffering and homelessness.

TEARS places a premium on education of animal guardians in its surrounding communities through its onsite clinic and mobile units. The organisation’s small but dedicated team are painfully aware that there is always more that can be done to relieve suffering, and this is in essence the TEARS’ ethos. For the sake of animals, we punch far above our weight and we will continue to fight for every dog and cat in search of the warmth of home.


Dogs and cats are becoming the victims of a growing trend to exclude pets from residential spaces in our cities. What is obvious is that this state of affairs is far from ideal for both animal guardians, property owners and landlords.

While families risk the loss of much-loved animal companions, landlords overlook what may be the best tenant for their property instead of only the best tenant from a much smaller pool of pet-free tenants.

Clearly, the situation calls for compromise on the part of trustees and landlords as a recent article in the Sunday Times argues: Pets being squeezed out of cities.


Homelessness is a particular type of torment for cats and dogs. Even those lucky enough to find a tiny space in a crowded shelter, do not have an easy time. An interesting observation is that dogs that have come from backgrounds of severe neglect and abuse, often display a certain relief when arriving at a shelter. For the first time in their lives they have a blanket to sleep on, shelter overhead, regular meals, exercise and positive human interaction. The animals that are surrendered to TEARS because a guardian no longer has the money to care for them or cannot provide a roof over their heads suffer a particular trauma. The shock of coming from a home with its familiar sounds, spaces, smells and companions, to the stress of a shelter kennel is profound.

Read more....


The benefits of having pets in one’s later years are many: the most obvious benefit is that they provide companionship and increase physical activity, but research suggests that they also help to relieve stress and lower blood pressure. Psychologists believe that because dogs and cats tend to live in the here-and-now, they turn an elderly person’s attention away from a future that may seem scary to them.

Late last year, a member of the TEARS’ family, Jane Ginsberg, took two dogs awaiting adoption at TEARS to Brenthurst Lodge, a retirement home in Plumstead. Jane has taken a variety of dogs, all shapes and sizes, to Brenthurst over the years


Hamilton was found wandering the streets in Fish Hoek last year. When his owners were located it was discovered that they could no longer care for him and he was surrendered to TEARS.

He is a loving and affectionate boy, and thrives on one-on-one attention. Hamilton is good with cats and other dogs and is always ready to play. He loves to sleep in an armchair or on a bed underneath pillows, and has to be woken up in the morning. This is a boy who has been longing for some time now, for the the comforts of home.

If you can give Hamilton his happy homecoming, please contact


Most of the dogs at TEARS have come from tough backgrounds – they may have been abused, malnourished, abandoned, been really ill. They have then spent time in shelter kennels – anything from a few days to a few years. Going to a new home is of course very exciting for them, but your new family member will need a period of time to settle in and adjust to his or her new surroundings.

Here are some ways you can make this transition period easier:


TEARS held its first ever sleepathon on the nights of 1 and 2 April. More than 150 people slept inside our shelter kennels for 12 hours and raised just over R500K – an incredible, jaw-dropping amount that will change the lives of many thousands of dogs and cats trapped in a life of suffering and abuse.

In the two weeks following the sleepathon, the following animals have been adopted or reserved:

Levi Pig
Clover (thanks to the efforts of former SA cricketer, Brett Schultz, who spent 12 hours with Clover in her kennel)


Several months ago, TEARS took custody of a pig called Levi who had been running the streets of a nearby suburb due to inadequate fencing on his owner’s property. When it became obvious that Levi would not be kept safely confined, and ran the risk of becoming somebody’s Sunday roast, TEARS began the search for a suitable home for a sociable and intelligent pig.

Levi was spotted in his TEARS enclosure during our recent sleepathon and was reserved for adoption. Levi has now found his forever home on a large property in Noordhoek. These days he’s a very happy pig, with a family all of his own, a number of animal friends to choose from (including an ostrich), two large shallow ponds to wade in, and lots grass on which to scratch his back and loads of places to explore – which after eating, is a curious pig’s favourite thing to do.

A very big thank you to Levi’s new family as well as Helen who took care of Levi while at our shelter and brought her won pig, Harry, along for play dates with lonely Levi.

As pigs love to say: “I’m a whole lot more than sticky ribs, Baby!”


Right now TEARS has a whole lot more than a kindle! Our cattery is bursting with almost 120 bundles of kitten cuteness. These heartbreakers are between the ages of nine weeks and five months and every one of these precious lives is hoping for a home.



7 and 8 May:  TEARS book sale and adoption drive at Long Beach Mall from 09h00.

Volunteer appeal: Every TEARS dog and puppy, cat and kitten, that is home is touched by the love and attention of our wonderful team of volunteers. As the winter months approach, there is always a drop-off in volunteer numbers, so we're appealing to you to be an in-the-meantime-home for our dogs and cats awaiting adoption by opting to join our volunteer programme:



Maggie, the world's oldest dog, passed away on Sunday at the ripe old age of 30! Maggie was a Kelpie who lived in Australia and was the best friend of farmer, Brian McLaren, who confirmed that Maggie passed peacefully.

Just a few weeks before she was still wandering around the farm, growling at the cats she passed.

Before Maggie, the oldest dog recorded was Bluey, an Australian cattle-dog who reached 29 years and 5 months. He died in 1939.

We have a number of beautiful Golden Oldies at TEARS hoping to find the warmth of home before older bones must face winter in a shelter kennel. All our dogs - middle-aged and older, are full of life's joy and wisdom and, compared to Maggie, little more than spring chickens really! 

Please contact to arrange to meet our slightly grey in the beard girls and boys.
Copyright © 2016 The Emma Animal Rescue Society, All rights reserved.

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