Community’s generosity aids animal clinic

Hilary Barclay and pet owners.

Hout Bay residents have opened their hearts and wallets to keep a small non-profit caring for animals in Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu afloat. For the first time in years, Hout Bay PETS, founded and managed by resident Hilary Barclay, was unable to run its clinic in Hangberg on Friday November 23 due to a lack of funds.

Ms Barclay is helped by volunteers Claire Thorne and Kirstie Lisle.

The clinic, which is run from Ms Barclay’s bakkie, provides much-needed animal sterilisations, triage and medical assistance in the community.

Ms Barclay founded the clinic 13 years ago, her costs covered by a core group of donors. And both the Hout Bay and Penzance veterinary clinics have given the non-profit reduced rates.

But a recent parvo outbreak and several costly operations for the animals have hammered the non-profit, leaving Ms Barclay owing the vets some R65 000. She has been forced to suspend the service.

Liz Bester, who works alongside Hangberg resident Shaygam Newman at Shaygam’s Shelter for stray animals, took to social media asking for financial assistance.

Residents quickly shared the post and within five days Hout Bay PETS had raised enough money to clear its debt.

“The response was amazing. Hill’s Pet Nutrition which has been supporting us for seven years now donated R10 000. There was also huge support from the community. Adele Hayden produced Hout Bay PETS 2019 fridge magnet calendars, and we even set up a PayPal account which people started donating to. It was beyond anything I ever expected,” Ms Barclay said.

“I cannot say thank you enough.”

Among locals, Ms Barclay has been dubbed “Saint Hilary” for her work with animals. On average, she treats about 18 animals a week.

She admits to being passionate about doing “work on the ground” but falling short when it came to administrative work and was still coming to terms with the PayPal payment method.

“Our service is not free. I do require R50 from pet owners for vaccinations and de-worming and R150 if pets need to be taken to the vet. I am really grateful to Kirstie who assists me with collecting the animals and taking them to the vet, and Claire who helps foster puppies and collections.”

Now that her debt has been paid, Ms Barclay wants to make Hout Bay PETS financially stable.

“One of the things I would like to do is to get the kids working more with their dogs. I would like to take the kids and their dogs to the football field for training.”

Ms Bester said the expenses involved in rehabilitating animals were often underestimated.

“We encountered a dog that stopped eating a few weeks ago. We took it to the vet, and it was there for seven nights, but, unfortunately, it succumbed to renal failure. But it was still a huge expense that had to be covered,” she said.

Members of the public wanting to donate to Hout Bay PETS can contact Ms Barclay at or 076 305 9834. Further details can be found at