Grace Animal Sanctuary Team
Written by Bianka Lerm, volunteer of Grace Animal Sanctuary
Photography by Bianka Lerm and Dioné Bekker
Wesbank, in Delft, Cape Town, is a severely impoverished area with no access to veterinary care and thousands of animals and people in desperate need of help. In early February 2019, Caron Burger from Grace Animal Sanctuary NPO identified the massive need for assistance in this area, and so she decided to initiate a monthly outreach, which commenced in March 2019.
A hundred helped
In the beginning, we were only able to help about 100 pet owners by treating their pets with dewormers, tick and flea treatment, and some dog or cat food. But this wasn’t quite enough. Heavy-hearted, we had to go, leaving so many empty-handed and desperate.
But word spread, and with every month since then, more and more people and their pets began arriving at the Wesbank Taxi Rank. We encountered so many puppies, of which some were extremely ill with parvo or distemper and luckily were surrendered by their owners to be humanely euthanised to prevent further suffering and the spread of the disease. Sadly, 19 puppies had to be euthanised.
There were lots of emaciated doggies with chains around their necks, and far too many with ticks and fleas.
Blessings in action
We started fundraising, networking and spreading the word, making the plight of the Wesbank community and especially their pets known! Grace Animal Sanctuary is so blessed for all the support we’ve received from the local community and the ongoing support of so many loyal and amazing supporters. With this, real change is happening.
Since August 2019, food in the form of hot dogs, fruit, sweets for the kids, or whatever else was donated or sponsored has been handed out to the local folk as well – the people are also starving, for the most part.
Our most recent outreach saw almost 800 animals and NO ill animals that had to be put to sleep. Besides treatment and food, we also offered them bedding, blankets and jerseys for their dogs and cats, as well as proper collars and leashes… but we always run out.
We still need so much more of everything! Unfortunately, there are always people still arriving by the time we pack up, and we have nothing left to give. So, even though we get and give so much, it’s just never enough.
The aim of the outreaches is to improve the lives of animals and not to just remove them from the area. But sometimes, in the course of an outreach, animals are rescued or surrendered to us for rehoming.
Tessa and Chloe are two such animals – little Wesbank Pit Bull puppies that were recently surrendered and rescued from the area. Tessa lived in appalling conditions, chained outside without adequate water, food or shelter; Chloe had severe mange and was also tied up and left outside to sleep in a turned-over rubbish bin. Chloe has since been adopted and Tessa is still in foster care, awaiting a home of her own. The best life ever awaits these two very special girls.
An incredible impact
The impact we’ve made on the general well-being of so many animals with the vaccinations of puppies to stop dreaded diseases, viral and bacterial infections, pests, etc. has been phenomenal. We’ve recognised so many returning residents every month and could literally track the growth and development of their pets – all in great condition.
We try to educate and advise as best we can, but, unfortunately, not always knowing where the poor dog sleeps or if they have any shelter was and is still a concern. Kennels are also sourced or sponsored, collected and allocated to those first most in need.
The expenses for every outreach amount to between R20k and R25k, so we really need all the support we can get.
Together we can make a difference. Together we are stronger. Every life matters; be the change.
Support the Wesbank Outreach Project by Grace Animal Sanctuary!