Food Relief for Pets Affected by Johannesburg Unrest

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Johannesburg, South Africa
Hundreds of dogs and cats left homeless and hungry after owners fled upsurges of unrest in areas of Johannesburg will get some relief from a substantial donation of food from Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) which works in townships and informal settlements across Gauteng reports that companion animals were abandoned as their owners scrambled to flee the xenophobic violence that has spread across South Africa’s biggest city since last weekend.
 
“Under police guard CLAW was able to access Alexandra township (where the attacks began) towards the end of last week and is also working with human welfare ngos. Speaking to people who have fled the violence and those left behind, it is clear that we have an animal as well as a humanitarian crisis happening here,” said Cora Bailey, CLAW’s founder and Special Advisor to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Companion Animal programme.
 
“We’re hearing that many, many people left behind their pets and animals are now desperately hungry and in need of food. While it isn’t currently safe or possible for CLAW to go in and rescue the animals at present, we can arrange for food drops to keep them sustained until we can get into retrieve them.”
 
IFAW (www.ifaw.org) made contact with Hill’s Pet Nutrition and were immediately offered a substantial donation of more than half a ton of Hill’s pet food, to help alleviate the unfolding animal crisis.
 
“This is a time for action – and while we fully appreciate that the human crisis is a disaster, we believe that the owners of pets will take some comfort in knowing their animals are being fed while this appalling situation is sorted out,” said Rina Cronwright, Managing Director of Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
 
So far more than 10,000 foreign nationals from elsewhere in Africa have taken refuge at police stations, community halls and churches across after they were chased from their homes by mobs accusing them of being involved in criminality,  “stealing” jobs and corruptly obtaining housing – newspapers report that more than 24 people have been killed and hundreds injured in the crisis.
 
“Having to leave behind much loved pets in a rush to save their own lives is just another punishment inflicted on those who have had to escape from danger,” said Cora Bailey. “If it isn’t bad enough to lose literally everything to a xenophobic mob, having to lose the close animal bond is just added cruelty. CLAW wants to promise pet owners that they can rely on us to do everything possible to care for their dogs and cats.”

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