Animal shelter not taking new strays

After 17 years, PlumPets Animal Shelter has decided to close it doors to new strays. File picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

A Plumstead animal shelter has made “the difficult but responsible decision” to close its doors to new strays, citing the impact of load shedding and increased running costs.

Animal shelter co-founder Paulette Bousfield says PlumPets will continue to operate but no longer as a shelter option for new cases.

“We will be a halfway home to our 25 dogs and over 100 felines still needing forever homes or care and rehabilitation until they find homes and for any PlumPets dogs and cats who are returned, for whatever reason.”

Ms Bousfield and veterinary surgeon Dr Duncan Stevens, owner of the Plumstead Animal Hospital, started the shelter in 2006 in response to a need among the hospital’s clients.

“Clients were rescuing and bringing in stray animals, desperate for both medical assistance and help with homing. We felt a social responsibility to help these animals in need. We couldn’t use the hospital space for a shelter but purchased a residential house behind the hospital, converted the garage and maid’s quarters into shelter space with two kennel rooms for the dogs and a big cattery for the cats,” Ms Bousfield said.

However rising levels of load shedding had had an overwhelming knock-on effect, she said.

“The generators’ noise levels are extremely loud for humans, never mind animals, whose hearing is far more sensitive than ours. It creates stress for the dogs and cats, especially the feral cats who have been the most traumatised, and some of our dogs are very reactive to loud sounds.

“The generators also mean diesel fumes in the hospital and shelter. We try to work around this on a daily basis in terms of getting pets out for walks during load-shedding where possible, moving them out of louder areas, closing out diesel emissions and minimising the impact as far as possible, but this has been extremely challenging.”

With a number of sanctuary cases – animals that are unlikely to be homed due to medical or behavioural issues – PlumPets doesn’t anticipate closing its doors until all the animals are homed or have died.

“Homing the dogs and cats we have currently is our main focus, and we will continue to need the support of the local community to donate, support us and, most importantly, open up their homes and adopt the remaining animals. We are desperate to get our animals in homes and away from the generators,” Ms Bousfield said.

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