South Africa - Violent Protest Forces Evacuation of CLAW Animal Clinic
Violent protest action has forced the evacuation of more than 100 sick or homeless dogs and cats from an animal welfare project in Johannesburg, South Africa.
CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) which is a project of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) provides animal welfare support to some of South Africa’s most disadvantaged communities – its clinic premises are situated on the western side of Johannesburg which, for months, has been disrupted by violent protests linked to land and housing disputes.
Today, stone throwing mobs barricaded all roads in the vicinity of the clinic with burning tyres, stones and tree stumps. Media reports say one person has been shot dead.
“The situation is extremely tense and volatile,” says Cora Bailey, Special Advisor to IFAW and founder of CLAW. “There have been scenes of extreme violence within metres of the clinic, so we are implementing the evacuation plan we put in place months ago in case of trouble erupting near our premises.
“I’d like to advise all our supporters that, at present, we all – staff and the dogs and cats that we are caring for are safe. Evacuating is a precautionary measure to ensure we stay that way.”
A number of animal welfare groups have been roped in to foster the more than 100 dogs and cats being cared for by the clinic. They include the Ark Animal Centre which has accepted all puppies, FORA which is caring for all animals currently awaiting adoption, the Horison Animal Clinic which has taken all critical cases, and the Roodepoort SPCA which will temporarily care for any animals surrendered to CLAW today and in the coming few days.
“We are incredibly grateful for the help of our fellow animal welfare groups. Protest action on the West Rand has been going on for months and we had to be realistic and consider that CLAW might, at some point, be affected and have an action plan in place. These groups were happy to be part of that,” says Bailey.
Bailey said that, despite the danger, pet owners had continued to arrive at the clinic throughout the day with their sick animals.
“Some of them had walked through the nearby mine dumps to avoid putting themselves in peril. It indicates the desperate need for CLAW’s services in these most troubled of communities. Even though our work was disrupted today, it is clear that this is where we need to be to help”.
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.