KAWS in di­re need of as­sis­tan­ce

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News - S­te­fan Goo­sen

W­hen a vi­deo de­picting the "mistre­at­ment" of dog car­cas­ses by Knys­na A­ni­mal Wel­fa­re So­cie­ty (Kaws) wor­kers spre­ad through the Gar­den Rou­te’s so­ci­al me­dia pa­ges re­cent­ly, a­ni­mal lo­vers we­re up in arms. Most com­men­ters fo­cu­sed on the man­ner in which the car­cas­ses we­re hand­led and Kaws em­ploy­ees we­re wi­de­ly cri­ti­ci­sed.

Kaws, ho­we­ver, main­tains that w­hat such de­trac­tors – in­clu­ding the Mos­sel Bay Fa­ce­book u­ser who i­ni­ti­al­ly pos­ted the vi­deo wit­hout con­tacting Kaws – mig­ht not ha­ve thoug­ht of is that the i­ma­ges de­picted are just the tip of the practi­cal­ly in­sur­moun­ta­ble i­ce­berg for tho­se who try their very be­st to as­sist the com­mu­ni­ty and its lo­ved and f­or­got­ten a­ni­mals.

To li­ve a day in one of the­se wor­kers’ shoes is so­mething Kaws ge­ne­ral ma­na­ger An­ne­lien Kit­ley would not wish on anyo­ne.

'Dai­ly st­rug­gle'

On a dai­ly ba­sis, she says, Kaws needs to wor­ry a­bout w­he­re their next lo­ad of pet food will co­me from, w­het­her they ha­ve e­nough spa­ce for sick a­ni­mals, and which of the ma­ny he­althy a­ni­mals, in­clu­ding ba­bies, will ha­ve to be put do­wn as, le­gal­ly, Kaws can­not ha­ve mo­re than 60 a­ni­mals on their pre­mi­ses at a gi­ven ti­me. Then the­re is the re­cent dis­tem­per e­pi­de­mic that hit Knys­na to de­al with as well.

“I­ma­gi­ne that you are fa­ced with count­less he­althy, beau­ti­ful a­ni­mals that could e­a­si­ly be a­dop­ted, but be­cau­se of the lack of spa­ce to hou­se the­se a­ni­mals, you ha­ve to de­ci­de which on­es to put do­wn sin­ce you al­re­a­dy ha­ve a num­ber of a­ni­mals still a­wai­ting a­dop­ti­on,” Kit­ley says. “Then we still ha­ve to bu­ry them – our in­spec­tors go through t­his e­mo­ti­o­nal tur­moil dai­ly, week­ly, monthly.”

In to­tal, Kaws has had to eut­ha­na­se mo­re than 1 400 a­ni­mals t­his y­e­ar due to il­l­ness (in­clu­ding dis­tem­per ca­ses sin­ce March), o­w­ners not clai­ming their stray pets, re­si­dents sur­ren­de­ring their pets, and the lack of spa­ce.

'F­ree­zers are full'

And now, ac­cor­ding to Kit­ley, a­not­her wor­ry has been ad­ded to their al­re­a­dy o­ver­bur­de­ned pla­te as the­re is no mo­re spa­ce for Kaws to bu­ry the a­ni­mals due to the ne­ga­ti­ve me­dia at­ten­ti­on the vi­deo re­cei­ved. Fol­lo­wing the re­ports, the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in­for­med Kaws they ha­ve to c­lo­se the bu­ri­al si­te, she says, ad­ding, “Our f­ree­zers are full and we ha­ve had to start tur­ning sick a­ni­mals a­way."

Kit­ley says they ha­ve ex­plo­red a num­ber of al­ter­na­ti­ves to sol­ve the is­sue – to­get­her with the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty – but that no­ne has bor­ne fruit so far. The­re are very few si­tes in the Gar­den Rou­te that are le­gal­ly al­lo­wed to accept a­ni­mal bu­ri­als.

W­hat bot­hers Kit­ley most a­bout the vi­deo is that the per­son who u­plo­a­ded it on­to Fa­ce­book did not con­tact

Kaws to rai­se the is­sue with them, and she says the gra­ve was dug up so that the per­son could ta­ke the p­ho­tos. “All the per­son did was cre­a­te sen­sa­ti­on, ruin so­me of the good work we do and le­a­ve us u­na­ble to accept and eut­ha­na­se ill and di­se­a­sed a­ni­mals, the­re­fo­re le­a­ving the­se a­ni­mals to suf­fer furt­her,” says Kit­ley.

Knys­na-P­lett He­rald (KPH) was u­na­ble to track do­wn the per­son in que­s­ti­on at the ti­me of going to print. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty says, re­gar­ding the bu­ri­al spa­ce, that its so­lid was­te de­part­ment has com­men­ced with the sup­ply chain pro­cess to find a suit­a­ble can­di­da­te to pro­vi­de the­se ser­vi­ces on be­half of the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty. No ti­mefra­me was gi­ven in its re­spon­se to KPH.

Can you help?

On the day of KPH's vi­sit at Kaws, on 20 Sep­tem­ber, the or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on's ex­tre­me­ly ur­gent need was e­vi­dent w­hen Kit­ley o­pe­ned their sto­re­room to show the few bags of pet food left. Kaws is ap­pe­a­ling to the com­mu­ni­ty to do­na­te funds or food by con­tacting 044 384 1603.

P­ho­to: Sup­p­lied P­ho­to: S­te­fan Goo­sen

A­va­tar the grey­hound w­hen he was broug­ht to Kaws. …and A­va­tar the grey­hound now, with Kaws ge­ne­ral ma­na­ger An­ne­lien Kit­ley – a tes­ta­ment to the work Kaws does.

P­ho­to: S­te­fan Goo­sen

Kaws’ ex­tre­me­ly ur­gent need was e­vi­dent w­hen Kit­ley o­pe­ned their sto­re­room to show the few bags of pet food left. She said she had no i­dea w­hen mo­re sup­plies would be­co­me a­vai­la­ble.

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