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As much as TEARS is about joy, lives saved and new beginnings, there is a darker side to our work. We are seeing increasing cases of sadistic cruelty and mindless neglect of animals who suffer as a result of human ignorance. There seems to be an overriding cause that underpins all cruelty and neglect of animals: a belief in the ownership rights of humans over animals. Whether mindless neglect or intentional cruelty, the suffering to animals is the same.

There is a lesser known William Blake quote: ‘A dog that starves at his master’s gate, predicts the ruin of the state!’

There is an urgent need in our communities – not only those that are poor – to open up a conversation about pet ownership versus animal guardianship because this really is the crux of the matter.

Our newsletter contains the good news stories it always does, stories that are evidence of the support and sacrifice of our supporters and animal champions, but we believe it is only right that we share with you a little of the other side of the coin involved in the work we do.
 
This poor girl was found in Stella Road, Plumstead.  This was Stella’s condition before (on the left) and then after she was rescued by TEARS (on the right).  This is a typical case of totally preventable suffering caused by sheer neglect.
OWNER OR GUARDIAN?

As TEARS picks up the pieces of broken lives in its daily work, it has always been, and will continue to be, the target of those who should have been the source of protection and nurturing for their dogs and cats but are, or have become, the source of their suffering.

More than possession

We believe that having a pet is about more than ownership or possession; it is about guardianship. Along with pet ownership comes a burden of care towards an animal who is unable to seek out treatment or care for itself. The unfortunate reality is that many owners refuse to accept this burden of care, not because they cannot afford to honour it, but because they do not view the care of their pet as their responsibility. It is this mind-set that led to two recent cases in which TEARS has been the subject of social media smear campaigns after treating desperately ill animals whose owners refused to enter into any sort of financial arrangement for the sake of their dogs.

The cost of caring

Most of the people whose animals receive veterinary treatment from TEARS are willing to come to an agreement to settle, often over time, the nominal fee charged by TEARS for the treatment of their pets. It is perhaps 30% of pet owners in TEARS’ demographic who refuse to even discuss the payment of medical treatment for their severely ill or injured animals.

The veterinary services TEARS is able to offer the community are the result of the generosity of private donors. The organisation receives no government assistance. For this reason, TEARS will never be in a financial position to treat – free of charge – the flood of dogs and cats from low-income households that are in need of our veterinary services.
 
 
Saving Bailey*

Recently, Mr Nigel* brought his dog, Bailey, to TEARS for treatment. The Labrador cross was close to death and in an advanced state of neglect, ticks covering his entire body. He was immediately admitted to intensive care for organ failure. Biliary, which was causing Bailey terrible suffering, is a preventable disease but Bailey’s organs had begun to fail because he had been neglected and treatment had not been sought sooner for his condition despite his suffering.

The services TEARS offered were known to Mr Nigel – Bailey had been sterilised free of charge by our organisation on a previous occasion.

Bailey was given the best care TEARS could afford him in order to save his life after consultation with Mr Nigel. Our shelter incurred costs in excess of R3000 but charged Mr Nigel R950, half of which we asked for when he came to fetch his dog.

Mr Nigel refused to pay this amount and would not come to any agreement at all about paying it off over time in an amount that would be affordable to him. TEARS is always willing to come to an agreement that takes into account both the immediate and long-term health of the animal as well as the owner’s financial circumstances. Mr Nigel refused any such agreement and began a smear campaign against TEARS on social media and was so convinced of the rightness of his treatment of his dog that he almost convinced certain of our supporters who wanted to know why we were holding Mr Nigel's dog ransom for payment of his veterinary bill.

Prevention better than cure

The unfortunate reality is that in cases in which a dog or cat has been so neglected, TEARS often finds that that animal will return to the organisation repeatedly for treatment of injuries or illness that could be easily prevented if the owner had provided their dog or cat with minimal health care.

TEARS’ on-sight clinic and mobile units have an ongoing programme of advice and education around primary health care for pets in Ocean View, Masiphumelele, Mountain View, Redhill, Vrygrond, Seawinds and Capricorn Park.

Most of the pet owners TEARS deals with understand the burden of care they owe their animals and are willing to honour this by working with TEARS to prevent injury and disease where possible and by coming to modest payment arrangements that allow TEARS to continue to keep its doors open.

Why a nominal fee is necessary

TEARS, as a responsible animal welfare organisation, follows the standard welfare practices of charging a minimal fee for the treatment of dogs and cats in low-income households in order to educate owners in the responsibilities of pet guardianship. Typically, TEARS charges a pet owner between 10% and 20% of the total cost of treatment to the organisation.

TEARS must continue to educate pet owners in their responsibility to their animals; the very basics of which are: nutritious food, clean water, shelter, freedom from abuse and neglect, and medical care (especially vaccinating and keeping their animals free of parasites which can cause a number of life-threatening conditions if neglected).

The mission continues

TEARS will continue to grapple with the heartbreak, trauma and financial challenges of delivering services and medical care to a vast number of dogs and cats who suffer as a result of abuse and neglect. It hopes that its supporters will understand that it can never condone the behaviour of owners who do not believe that they owe their pet the necessary care to prevent their suffering. We owe the majority of low-income but responsible households who work closely with us to care for their pets, to keep fighting to stay afloat and to do all we can to educate owners about the responsibility that is part of being a cat or dog guardian.

*Names changed of those involved in incident
 
NEW ZEALAND MAKES ANIMAL ACTIVISTS AROUND THE WORLD PROUD!

New Zealand passed the Animal Welfare Bill last month, which legally rules that animals are sentient beings and have feelings in the same way that we do. Dr Virginia Williams, chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee said: “To say that animals are sentient is to state explicitly that they can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress.”  

People in animal cruelty cases will now be prosecuted and animal research and testing has been banned entirely. All hunting and capturing of wild animals is illegal.

Farm animals finally have rights and pets will be properly cared for. All animals in New Zealand now have their status in society stamped, and walk alongside humans as they were always meant to.  We hope that other countries around the world soon follow suit.


Photo from www.myveganjourney.ca
 
REMEMBER TO HAVE A BROWSE AT OUR TEARS BOOKSHOPS AND PICK UP SOME SPECIAL FINDS!

Here is an article to inspire you - you never know what treasures are hidden on our shelves:

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
 
Remember to also keep your eyes open for our next sale - coming soon!
ST. PATRICKS DAY WAS CELEBRATED ON 17 MARCH 2016

From the land of rolling emerald hills, we have a fun day on the annual calendar filled with laughter, green beer and game night. Because the day is known for its celebratory cheer, we couldn’t resist adding some smiles with a few Irish hounds. We wrap up with a selection of TEARS dogs, available for adoption, who we’re sure have a little Irish in them.

READ MORE...

A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS!

Our Dog Walking Volunteers did over 40 outings last week. These included outings to the beach and/or sports field in addition to each dog's normal four walks a week.Barbara Cunnand her team of volunteers use methods of mental stimulation to make the lives of our dogs more interesting and they ensure they live the happiest possible days while they are at TEARS.
We would like to extend a massive thank you to all our dedicated volunteers, who come in rain or shine to care for our dogs.  We couldn't do this without you!

UPCOMING EVENTS


TO OUR JEWISH SUPPORTERS
22 April to 30 April
ENDING WITH A SMILE :)

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WE ARE ONLY ABLE TO ACHIEVE ALL WE DO FOR ANIMALS WITH YOUR GENEROUS HELP SO PLEASE GET US OFF TO A GOOD START THIS YEAR AND DONATE.
 
Copyright © 2016 The Emma Animal Rescue Society, All rights reserved.


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