A group photo of participants in our third and most recent Humane Education Programme

A group photo of  participants in our third and most recent Humane Education Programme <!--[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]-->

Adopt-a-Pet is a proudly “pro-life” or “no kill” animal rescue, rehabilitation and adoption, non profit company.  Our mandate is only to rescue those destitute animals which would die without our intervention. While we have never claimed that we can rescue all the unwanted animals in Cape Town, whatever animal comes into  our care is treated with the same love, respect and veterinary care, whether it is a starving stray riddled with internal and external parasites, or a cat with broken legs.  However, we do believe in true euthanasia if an animal is suffering from a terminal condition or incurable pain with no hope of recovery,  on the advice of the exceptional veterinarians who have been unstintingly helping us since October 1994.


During our interaction with animals and people over many years, it has become obvious to us that most animal organisations, including ourselves, have been treating the symptoms of animal neglect and cruelty rather than the causes.  We have asked ourselves who the perpetrators are and why the “"solutions" ” are not working. There are two factions who operate in the animal welfare scenario, namely, those who kill animals as a population control mechanism and those who work incessantly to save as many lives as possible and do their utmost to find these animals new quality homes.  Sadly, instead of working together to find solutions, the two factions are notoriously guilty of of “bad mouthing” and even slandering one another.

 

The answer to this dilemma could be found in the benefits of implementing Humane Education and Youth Enrichment Programmes aimed to provide a more gentle and more appealing alternative to violent behaviour such as the adulation of gangs, drugs, knives, guns, pitbull fighting and cruelty to animals.

  

It is a recognised and researched fact that the torture and killing of animals by children should be viewed in a serious light, because this behaviour could be an indicator of later violence when they are adults towards the vulnerable in our society, such as children, women, the elderly and the handicapped. Humane Education should be viewed as an important intervention mechanism to inspire young people to respect all life and to promote positive attributes such as empathy and compassion directed towards both their fellow human beings as well as towards other creatures which share our troubled and violent society.  Humane Education could thus serve as a crime prevention mechanism, resulting in the lowering of levels of violence which is currently endemic in our country.

 

With these thoughts at the back of our minds, but not yet consciously implemented, a step in the right direction occurred in March 2011, when we were approached by NICRO (the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders}, to partner with them on a three year working agreement with youth at the Windermere High School in Factreton, a high risk area with a significant incidence of gangster activities.  Prior to this, we had been receiving people referred to us by NICRO to do community service at our shelter after being sentenced by the courts for offences such as driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. We were informed that the community service at our shelter was favourably received and many of the participants later adopted dogs or cats from us and stayed on as volunteers.

 

In July 2011, we expanded our programmes at our own initiative to an informal settlement  called Sweet Home Farm in Philippi when it was alleged that a young child was killed by dogs and the residents retaliated by killing dogs.  The conventional animal organisations intervened by removing about 230 dogs, of which most, if not all, were put down.  We decided on 11 July 2011, to intervene and hopefully to help.    [END OF PART ONE.  TO BE CONTINUED SHORTLY]