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Calf rescued after days in canal
This calf had to survive for nearly two weeks in the Cat Canal before it was rescued by the Uitenhage SPCA with the help of local businesses like Hooker Towing and Global Scrap Metal. Photos:SUPPLIED

A calf that fell into the Cat Canal next to Durban street in Uitenhage, had to survive for nearly two weeks before it was rescued.

With no effort made by officials from the municipality’s Animal Control to rescue the calf, private business, volunteers and the Uitenhage & District SPCA took action.

To get to the calf, the rescuers had to physically wade through the raw sewage flowing down the canal into the Swartkops river.

“We could not handle the desperate bleating of the calf and the cow’s mooing anymore,” said Charles Frank from a tyre business adjacent the canal where the poor calf was stuck.

“We phoned the municipality several times, but to no avail.

“I then phoned the SPCA, as the situation was driving us mad. There was no way that the poor calf could get out of the canal.”

Luckily there was a small island of debris on which the calf could stand and sleep to escape the sewage water.”

George Adams, a resident living next to the Cat Canal, said because the fence was stolen on both sides of the canal, they have had to rescue many dogs and cats that have fallen into the canal.

“We even had to rescue a drunk man who fell into the canal. The situation without a fence is life threatening,” said Adams.

“All life matters, whether it is a human or an animal.

“The sewage flowing down the canal - a real health hazard - worsens the rescue attempts.

“This is the worst kind of sewage pollution I have ever seen in the canal in all the years that we have lived here,” said Adams.

Deirdre Swift, Uitenhage & District SPCA management board chairperson, thanked the community for their involvement.

“If it were not for residents and business people like Vincent Palmer from the Strelitzia Neighbourhood Watch who initiated the rescue operation with the assistance of the Potgieter family from Global Scrap Metal and Quinton Dalton from Hooker Towing, the story would have had a tragic end.”

The calf rescue volunteers were assisted by Uitenhage SPCA staff Kevin Brown, Patrick Whiteboy and Deirdre Swift.

“There was no way that we could get the stressed and tired calf, which I guess weighed about 300kg, out of the canal. Thanks to Hooker Towing who came with their big crane truck and managed to put a sling around the calf’s body and lifted it out of the canal, the three hour rescue operation had a happy ending,” said Swift.

The concerns about no fencing at the canal are real and legitimate, Swift added.

“It is not safe for humans and animals alike.This is about the fifth cow rescued from the Cat Canal.

“It is unnecessary for us to go out and contemplate shooting livestock because the necessary containment is not in place.”

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