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Gaws needs support now

A lack of community support has brought a halt to the critical work of volunteers at the Grabouw Animal Welfare Society (Gaws).

While the organisation, which was founded in 2011, continues to find homes for stray dogs and place them in foster care, necessary community work such as weekly dip days, monthly sterilisation days and the daily offering of medical and general pet care advice has fallen by the wayside due to a lack of funding and support from the community.

The Gaws kennels, located at Denel Houwteq on Highrising Road, currently house 30 dogs – seven adult pooches and 23 puppies; cats have also been placed in foster care. It was founded by local vets, who saw the need for an animal welfare organisation, according to kennel manager and chairperson Justine Frey.

“Gaws has been on a rocky road right from its start eight years ago, when we started out using four kennels at the local vet,” she said.

“About six years ago, we were given the use of the kennels at Denel Houwteq at no charge, which were successfully run for three years. However, we have had to close the kennels due to lack of funds, as it costs close to R25 000 per month to keep it operational.”

But the kennel gates were recently reopened, as management were against the euthanising of the dogs and could not maintain the daily boarding costs at a local vet.

The organisation’s core function is the sterilisation of pets to lessen the burden of unwanted, sick and injured animals. “In the past we helped all animals in need and those who are not serious enough about their animals to pay for their healthcare needs,” Frey explained. She added this willingness to help is one of the core reasons the organisation finds itself in debt to the tune of R100 000.

“We would like to believe each person should pay for their animal’s medical care, even if it is a minimal rate,” Frey said. “Each animal owner should take responsibility. It’s difficult to turn those in need away; sadly most people want to own animals but can’t afford the care they need when sick or injured.”

What’s more, the organisation’s truck broke down two weeks ago, with its engine needing a complete overhaul to get it back in working condition.

Apart from financial support from the community and donations from benefactors, Gaws is heavily reliant on the support of its charity shop at the Marsh Rose Mall in Grabouw, where second-hand goods are sold daily. Its small team also organises various fundraising initiatives to raise much-needed funds.

One such event is the forthcoming Tribute to ABBA show by Mike McCully and The Harmonix at Elgin Railway Market on Thursday 25 April as well as regular raffles and a potjiekos competition in June.

“We’d love to have some volunteers on board to help us with the fundraising and assistance is also needed at the charity shop, where we have one full-time lady working daily,” Frey said.

“Donations of any kind really help – your unwanted goods become our treasures. We will gladly collect the donations from Helderberg and Grabouw areas.”

In future, Gaws would like to have the local community on board and show them the vital role it plays within the area it serves. Frey said its goal is to hold a mass sterilisation clinic, with the hope of sterilising 1 000 animals per year. “This would be a solution to aiding in alleviating the sick, injured and unwanted, but we need the support of the community, as one sterilisation costs R500.”

V The highly acclaimed Tribute to ABBA promises to get you out of your seat and dancing to renditions of some of the group’s most loved songs, including “Mama Mia”, “Waterloo”, “Money, Money, Money”, and much more. Tickets to the show, which runs from 19:30 to 23:00, cost R150 for adults and R100 for children aged six to 16. Book your place online via Quicket.

V For more information on Gaws or to arrange for donation collection, contact Frey on 076 549 6601 or admin@gaws.org.za.

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