The Durban and Coast SPCA said that they often get concerns from citizens who are hesitant to call them or bring in strays to them as they are afraid that the animal will be put to sleep. Recently, there have been misconceptions spreading throughout the community with regards to the SPCA’s policy regarding animal euthanasia, some of which have suggested that the organisation euthanises animals after several days.

Tanya Fleischer, marketing manager of the Durban and Coast SPCA said, “Our SPCA gets in around 15 000 animals a year, of which only 2% are collected by their owners and 7% adopted. When an animal arrives at our SPCA they are assessed by age, temperament and health. Many animals arrive here in poor health, some with contagious diseases, or they are aggressive or some even become aggressive due to the environment they now find themselves in. If the animal is healthy and well natured, we most definitely put them up for adoption and actively try to find their new forever home, as well as those that can be successfully treated and rehabilitated for adoption.

Fleisher confirmed that animals are not put to sleep after several days as is believed by some members of the public. “Our hearts break when we have to make the very difficult decision to say goodbye, and our staff often have to bottle feelings up and cry on the journey home. Sadly, there are not enough homes for all these animals and it rests on us to have to humanely send them over the rainbow bridge, whether it be due to lack of space, temperament, or ill-health. We keep the animals in our care for as long as possible although people often have the misconception that after seven days strays get put to sleep. The seven day pound period is in fact the amount of time we have (dictated by municipal by-laws) to allow the owners of stray animals to come and claim them. It is also important to remember that some of these animals have suffered cruelty or starvation and this is a fate far worse than euthanasia. So when it comes to ending suffering, we will never apologise for our policies.”

Fleisher highlighted that the SPCA works hard to ensure that animals in their care are looked after. She encouraged the public to tackle animal abuse by reporting violations to them, donating to their organisation and learning about it. She also encouraged the community to contact the organisation if they want to learn more about it.