Flea to a good home: you won’t believe why these dogs were dumped
A Durban animal rescuer has 'heard it all' after a family gave up its pets because they had fleas
Moving house, incompatibility with other pets, a jealous husband and a new baby are some of the reasons pet owners give up their dogs.
But this week a KwaZulu-Natal animal rescuer “heard it all” when a Durban family asked her to take their two dogs because the canines had fleas.
“I received a message a few days ago asking for assistance with two dogs who needed to be rehomed urgently. I asked them why they needed to rehome, and why so urgently? I assumed it had to be for a very serious reason as they requested that I fetch the dogs on the same day. Their reason? Fleas,” said Karen Wadsworth Borain.
Wadsworth Borain, the founder of Powerbreed Rescue, based in Durban, explained to the owner that it was “pretty easy” to kill fleas, but the family responded that they were tired of washing the dogs all the time.
“So I collected the dogs and sorted their fleas out on the same day. They don’t have fleas any more, but now they don’t have a home either. They are both very young and exceptionally beautiful, so we will find them wonderful homes with a family who know how to keep their dogs parasite-free,” she said.
In the past four years since the establishment of her nonprofit organisation, Wadsworth Borain has heard many different reasons for giving up pets.
“There are the usual situations such as moving to a smaller place, a death in the family, pet incompatibility or not researching the breed before they obtained the puppy.
“Some stranger excuses I have heard is that there is a new human baby on the way and there is not enough room for the dog as well, or the husband is jealous of all the attention the dog gets from the wife.”
The main reason owners surrendered their pets in 2018 was emigration.
“The amount of pets being surrendered is definitely increasing year on year, and I believe it to be mostly due to economic and political uncertainty. Unemployment rates are ridiculously high, and hundreds of families are emigrating monthly,” Wadsworth Borain said.
In 2018, Powerbreed Rescue accepted 124 dogs. As of Monday the organisation had taken in an additional 12.
The organisation’s biggest expense is vet bills.
“In 2018, our medical expense was R166,156. We charge an adoption fee of R1,200 which subsidises the cost per dog for vaccinations, sterilisation, deworming, microchip and tick and flea treatment.
“We rely on donations from the public for the rest. Other expenses include food and kennelling. Running costs such as petrol, data and airtime is paid for by the volunteers in their private capacity,” Wadsworth Borain said.
The main challenges facing rescue in SA is “the burgeoning volumes of abused and homeless pets as well as lack of funding for animal welfare”.
“There is no focus from government on animals, and because there is a lack of free veterinary access from the state vet ... dogs and cats are breeding at a ridiculously fast rate.
“Many litters are born daily with no homes to go to, nobody to feed them or care for them. The various SPCAs alone take in thousands of animals every single month. We need regular mass sterilisation drives, as well as support from the government and private sector,” Wadsworth Borain said.
The SPCA didn’t respond to queries.