Appeal for help for animal victims left behind after violence

Wednesday, 11 June, 2008
(June 11 2008 – Johannesburg) - A clinic offering vital help to people and their pets in impoverished township communities in South Africa has issued a desperate plea for donations after recent violence left pets abandoned, starving and in need of urgent veterinary care.

The CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) project near Johannesburg, which is supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), is appealing for emergency funding to cope with a huge increase in the amount of homeless pets, mainly dogs, arriving daily at its clinic and shelter, which were already working at full capacity.

Dedicated staff and volunteers at the centre are working tirelessly to treat and care for the animals, but the latest emergency – the result of xenophobic violence that caused thousands of foreign nationals from elsewhere in Africa to flee their homes – means the centre is running out of space and vital equipment for the animals.

TV vet Emma Milne, who visited CLAW in February to highlight the work of the clinic and appeal for volunteers, said: “After witnessing at first hand the truly inspiring work carried out at CLAW, I was really saddened to hear about recent events and the photographs of pets people have been forced to leave behind are heartbreaking.

“I would urge people to make a donation to help this amazing and much-needed project which really makes a difference. I also encourage any UK vets who can to spend some time helping out at the clinic, they are guaranteed a very rewarding experience.”

The veterinary clinic was not designed to house large numbers of animals, yet staff have had to turn it into a temporary shelter with spaces being filled by new dogs as soon as others are adopted.

The project, treating around 50 dogs a day at its centre, as well as many more during daily outreach clinics, has now run out of cages, staff are exhausted and the centre’s washer and dryer, essential for providing clean blankets, stopped working under the pressure. While some animals have had to be put to sleep due to disease, malnourishment or excessive trauma, staff continue to save every animal they can.

To make a cash donation to help IFAW’s work with abandoned pets in Johannesburg and other needy animals around the world, please call 020 7587 6700, or visit

Any qualified vets interested in volunteering at CLAW or other IFAW projects in South Africa are asked to email their contact details to


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