The nationwide lockdown has had a devastating impact on a number of organisations, among them the Hout Bay-based Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG), which is struggling to keep up with the demand for their services.
With several animals requiring medical attention, DARG, a registered non-profit organisation, faces trying times, having lost nearly
R70 000 due to the closure of their shop and funding drying up as many donors battle to cope with the effects of the lockdown.
The organisation’s managing director, Faustina Gardner, said many individuals had been forced to stop supporting DARG as they watched their own finances take a knock.
“Because DARG doesn’t get any government funding, we rely heavily on donations from members of the public. I think there is often a bit of a misconception that a facility as large as ours gets in a great deal of funding, which unfortunately is not the case,” she told Sentinel News.
DARG’s main focus is on caring for close to 200 animals on its premises and they are also actively involved with treating and feeding dogs and cats in both Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg.
They also run a sterilisation programme through which they, under normal circumstances, neuter or spay between 25 to 35 dogs a week.
“As part of our focus on assisting owners in both low-income areas, we educate individuals about the humane treatment of their pets and about the importance of vaccinations, sterilisations, deworming, etc,” Ms Gardner said.
However, because they are operating with a skeleton staff, their ability to assist both communities has been negatively affected. Putting additional strain on them is the fact that DARG deals with at least three to seven injuries from dog fights every week.
DARG also relies heavily on donations of food from the public, for their own animals and also for those which are part of their outreach programmes in IY and Hangberg.
“With lockdown, these donations have become less and less,” said Ms Gardner.
DARG was established in 1999 to create a sanctuary for abused, abandoned and rescued dogs and cats.
“All the animals at the shelter still need to be cared for so we currently have a skeleton staff living on the premises during lockdown. We are limited in trying to assist with daily treatments of animals that normally lower-income owners have brought to our gates.”
DARG has now launched a string of initiatives aimed at trying to get the organisation “back on its paws”, while respecting physical distancing, including an online pub quiz, online auctions, food drives and also appealing on social media for their supporters to donate towards their cause.
“The emails and calls from donors and sponsors who have informed us about no longer being able to assist us have been heartfelt. But at the same time, we have had incredible assistance from certain companies and individuals for our food drive in the communities and to assist with vet bills. We have definitely seen a big drop in financial support during this time, but our supporters are still actively engaging with us via social media as a show of support,” Ms Gardner said.
DARG does not plan to give up though and is all too aware that the crisis will come to an end. In October they plan to host their flagship Darg Balls Golf Tournament.
“We all share an incredible drive and passion for what we do and we refuse to give up on our animals or those in our low-income communities so we just need to find creative ways to get funds in,” Ms Gardner said.
“Now, more than ever, we need your support because without it, we cannot continue with our work we do to help the animals in need and those at our facility.”
If you wish to get involved with DARG, donate towards their cause, you can call 021 790 0383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org