CLAW hosts event ‘Meet the Heroes’, reflects on year ahead

Maggie, a dog rescue by CLAW, takes a photo with CLAW staff at the Durban Deep office. Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW), an IFAW companion animal project based in Gauteng, South Africa, has seen some devastating cases of animal cruelty, but has also witnessed the restoring power of compassion. With a dedicated veterinary team, many of these cases have turned from stories of horror into stories of hope. In their honour, CLAW hosted an event called Meet the Heroes, an event where visitors could come and meet some of these extraordinary animals.

Liam the lamb, rescued by CLAW, pauses to have his photo taken at CLAW’s Meet the Heroes event.

Liam the Lamb was rescued after his owner's neighbour broke his legs. It took an extensive search to locate a willing veterinarian to repair his badly broken legs. 17 rejections later, CLAW sourced a willing veterinarian and campaigned to cover the costs of the surgery. A year later, Liam is doing well and only has faint scars to show for his ordeal. His lively personality would never suggest he ever experienced such trauma.

Rescued pup Maggie and her adoptive owner at CLAW’s Meet  the Heroes event.

Maggie is a figure head as a true survivor of dog fighting. She was first found in a ditch with a broken jaw and an extremely severed leg. The simple act of wagging her tail was enough to convince visiting Veterinarian Dr Kati Loeffler and the CLAW vet team to try to save her life. Time, patience and love brought Maggie back from the brink after her surgeries to clean and fix her severed front leg and broken jaw. . Looking at Maggie today, it is hard to believe she is the same dog. She attends regular hydro therapy classes to strengthen and tone her muscles. Her spirit is infectious and her confidence has increased tremendously.

Beautiful Belle enjoys some attention at CLAW’s Meet the Heroes event.

Belle, a dog who sports a shiny black coat and loves tennis balls, was originally found infested with ticks to the extent she could not open her eyes. Belle caused a public outrage as her biliary survivor’s story erupted across the internet. With thousands of shares, comments and reactions on the CLAW social media page, the general public at large extended an outpouring of emotion for a companion animal who had suffered neglect of an extreme nature. Due to the number of ticks on Belle, she ran the risk of bleeding to death if they were physically removed. The vet staff had to treat Belle for the tick infestation and leave the parasites to fall off naturally, much to their dismay. Fast forward three months, a happy and content Belle finds herself the centre of attention at Meet the Heroes. With almost no scarring, Belle looks up lovingly at her adoptive mother Hanna. Hanna rubs at her belly, telling of how Belle loves to chases tennis balls and has taken to family life.

Adventure Chook, a hen rescued by CLAW director Taren Welthagen, stands near her partner, a rooster, at CLAW’s Meet the Heroes event.

Stories of CLAW’s various adventures soon became a topic of discussion. Taren Welthagen, CLAW’s new director, spoke of a recent rescue that had everyone present in a fit of laughter. Recently, on her way to the clinic, a chicken jumped off the back of a moving vehicle and ran around the traffic circle just outside the CLAW Durban Deep Clinic. Slamming on her brakes, Taren took off after the chicken and managed to rescue her. The young hen, which is affectionately called Adventure Chook, is now settled in her new home and has a rooster for a partner. Adventure Chook, also present on the day, happily pottered around the property, but chose to avoid the festivities and unfamiliar visitors. These are only a few cases of the cases CLAW has dealt within the last year. CLAW will continue to support companion animals in need.

 In the coming year, CLAW knows that 2017 will present its own challenges.

With your continued support and the amazing dedicated CLAW staff, animals who find themselves at CLAW’s door will receive the care they so desperately need.


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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters