Home for stray pets faces evic­tion

Mil­ner­ton ac­tivist Ce­cile Bloomberg des­per­ately seeks new premises for an­i­mals

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - LISA ISAACS

ADOPT-A-PET, which usu­ally finds homes for dogs and cats, must now find a home for it­self af­ter be­ing served with a no­tice of evic­tion from its Mil­ner­ton­based cen­tre.

The an­i­mal rights res­cue group, started in 1994 and run by Ce­cile Bloomberg, pro­vides a tem­po­rary home at any one time for about 40 cats and 50 dogs who would oth­er­wise have died.

Bloomberg says the ev­er­grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of do­mes­tic an­i­mals has pushed so­ci­ety to “break­ing point”. Even with such large num­bers, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has a no-kill pol­icy, and in­stead pro­motes ster­il­i­sa­tion.

The group re­sponds to any call for the res­cue of an an­i­mal, and does “what­ever it takes” to en­sure the an­i­mal is alive, safe and on the road to re­cov­ery.

Once the an­i­mals are healthy, they are put up for adop­tion in homes where they will be cared for cor­rectly.

Adopt-A-Pet now also runs two youth en­rich­ment pro­grammes, at the Win­der­mere High School in Fac­tre­ton and Sweet Home farm in Philippi.

Ev­ery Fri­day, the par­tic­i­pants are taken on trips to his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant sites such as the Dis­trict Six Mu­seum and the Slave Lodge, as well as to view the beauty of na­ture at the Two Oceans Aquar­ium.

There are also plans to have each of the chil­dren who are now in­volved to men­tor another child, to con­trib­ute to a gen­tler, more com­pas­sion­ate so­ci­ety.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion also tries to teach the chil­dren re­spect for their en­vi­ron­ment and kind­ness to an­i­mals.

Bloomberg says the “im­mense pres­sures” faced by young peo­ple of­ten push them to­wards gangs and drugs.

Adopt- a- Pet tries to of­fer al­ter­na­tives.

Many vol­un­teers are also serv­ing com­mu­nity ser­vice sen­tences at the cen­tre as a form of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

“Al­though we started as an­i­mal res­cuers, we are now res­cu­ing peo­ple,” says Bloomberg.

But now, af­ter 12 years at their Mil­ner­ton base, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has been evicted and must va­cate the premises by the end of Fe­bru­ary.

Un­less it finds new premises, Bloomberg says, all its op­er­a­tions will have to be halted, re­sult­ing not only in job losses, but also great risk to the an­i­mals they care for.

But Bloomberg is de­ter­mined to avert any such cri­sis.

Kevin Beeby, dog trainer and be­havioural ex­pert at Adopt-A-Pet, says the evic­tion came “out of the blue”. He adds that they are “not deal­ing with fur­ni­ture here, be­cause th­ese are ac­tual an­i­mal lives”.

The evic­tion, though, is a “bless­ing and a curse”, he says, say­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion has out­grown its 500m shel­ter. They re­ally need a big­ger, cen­tralised clinic.

Land­lord Alas­dair Cameron said Adopt-A-Pet was a ten­ant whose lease had ex­pired.

“Their lease will not be re­newed as the space is needed for other pur­poses,” he said.

RES­CUED: Chops came to Adopt-A-Pet from Sweet Home Farm in Philippi, suf­fer­ing from jaun­dice.

PIC­TURE: WAR­REN JOSEPHS

HOME: The or­gan­i­sa­tion also cares for about 40 cats, keep­ing them fed, healthy and shel­tered.

FIGHT­ING BACK: An­i­mal ac­tivist Ce­cile Bloomberg.

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