Sav­ing the don­keys

… the Ka­roo An­i­mal Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety pro­vides proper new bits and re­place­ment har­nesses

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WEEKEND ARGUS - JBJ RE­PORTER

LIFE has just be­come a whole lot bet­ter for 50 don­keys in a re­mote farm­ing area called Bavi­aan­skloof in the East­ern Cape. Many peo­ple who live there are poor and they mostly get around on don­key carts. There aren’t many vets around, and even if there were, peo­ple can’t af­ford the bills.

Vis­i­tors to the area think the don­keys and their carts are at­trac­tive and take lots of pic­tures of them. But the carts are ram­shackle – that means fall­ing down, badly built – and the har­nesses the don­keys wear to pull them are held to­gether with wire and string.

The bits – the part of the harness that goes into the don­key’s mouth – are home-made and can in­jure the an­i­mals’ del­i­cate mouths. On Oc­to­ber 22 the Ka­roo An­i­mal Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety (Kaps) held a clinic in the Bavi­aan­skloof for the don­keys.

They gave the carters new, well­fit­ting bits for all the don­keys, and handed out com­plete re­place­ment harness for 20 of the don­keys – each cart is pulled by two. Then the an­i­mals had any wounds treated.

The peo­ple from the clinic per­suaded some of the driv­ers to rest their don­keys un­til they re­cov­ered.

Con­di­tions are tough in Bavi­aan­skloof. It’s very dry be­cause there has been a long drought. All the don­keys were very thin, so Kaps bought them feed and lucer ne. Some of the don­keys were so thin that the new har­nesses had to be al­tered to fit them.

Kaps is a small or­gan­i­sa­tion based in Barrydale, near Swellen­dam, but it works in a big area. They no­ticed the prob­lems in the Bavi­aan­skloof area when they were work­ing in Aberdeen.

So Kaps raised money for in­spec­tors to go from door to door check­ing on an­i­mals in poor ar­eas. They also held clin­ics where dogs and cats were spayed so they couldn’t have more ba­bies.

Now the Bavi­aan­skloof mu­nic­i­pal­ity says it will con­trib­ute to Kaps’ costs if it looks at the prob­lems of an­i­mals in towns like Steytlerville, Bavi­aan­skloof and Wil­low­more.

Kaps chair­per­son Co­lette Teale said: “A part­ner­ship be­tween us and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has meant the an­i­mals’ lives are trans­formed.”

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity pro­vided premises and per­suaded own­ers to co-op­er­ate with Kaps, and has also agreed to give some of its funds to the don­key clinic. The trou­ble is the money will come from Bavi­aan skloof ’s pet care funds, so more money is needed for the don­keys. The har­nesses in par­tic­u­lar are ex­pen­sive. But they have been helped by a com­pany in Middelburg, GDE Leather, which made the har­nesses at half-price. And while 50 don­keys have been helped, there are more than 100 left who have not.

They also need feed­ing, de­worm­ing, and de­cent equip­ment. And they need to get their teeth fixed.

Teale said Kaps was grate­ful to the leather com­pany as well as Marge and LeRoi Will­more of the Barn­yard Don­key Sanc­tu­ary in Ge­orge who helped with Kaps’s ef­forts. But Kaps wants more: vets to vol­un­teer a day of their time to help at fu­ture clin­ics and peo­ple to send money.

If you or your fam­ily can help, con­tact Teale on tel/fax 028 572 1717 or 072 277 1056.

NEW FIT­TINGS: Don­keys with new har­nesses do­nated by Kaps at the an­i­mal clinic held in Bavi­aan­skloof.

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