Top left to right: Ingrit van Heerden, Melinda Bothma,(both in our Adoptions team) Lynn Grinaker,(Head of cattery), Sanchia Lemmer (Assistant head of cattery), Maz Greene (Adoption) and Jacqui Verkerk (Head of Shelter)
Bottom left to right: Munya Ndodzo, Tenashe Kusveta with Reeva (now adopted), Malvin Tinarwo (our caretakers)
Written by Carol Macdonald – Chairperson of Langebaan Animal Care
Professional photography by NeedOutdoors
Langebaan Animal Care (LAC) was formed in 1995 and was the brainchild of Lynne Mills who was joined soon after by Charmain Godfrey. Together, they went from homing handfuls of animals in their own houses to the construction of a full shelter and an entire organisation where, over the years, along with the subsequent volunteers who joined them, LAC has cared for many hundreds of dogs and cats.
A mainstay of animal care
LAC is now the mainstay of animal care in the Langebaan community and surrounding areas on the West Coast of Cape Town. In 2005 we were registered as a non-profit organisation (NPO 043-772) and Public Benefit Organisation with SARS (PBO 930038286).
LAC is more than just a shelter; we operate extensive fieldwork, clinics and community outreach programmes to help provide care for the animals, and education and support for their owners.
We work with governmental bodies and law enforcement agencies to help bring about change in the way animals are treated. We encourage pet owners to sterilise their animals to help control the overpopulation. We’re proud to have played a significant role in changing the Saldanha Bay Municipality’s by-laws in implementing that all dogs and cats be sterilised in this area. We continually educate owners to encourage them to adhere to the relevant by-laws and to the five animal rights*.
We’re continuing to grow and develop, playing an ever-increasing role bringing care, rehabilitation and rehoming to animals in need, and sharing our vision with the community we serve.
Helping and sheltering animals in need
Langebaan Animal Care is a rescue shelter for animals without homes or who are victims of cruelty in Langebaan and surrounding areas. We provide shelter, food, fieldwork, medicine and rehabilitation. Our fostering programme works well for dogs, cats and kittens, and we also have a shelter for a certain number of dogs, cats and kittens.
In 2009 a shelter was constructed mainly for dogs but with a small section for cats. The organisation grew along with the size of our town and, over the years, the shelter was improved and enlarged.
In 2017 we were told that we’d have to move our shelter at some date in the future but didn’t receive formal notice to move until late 2020. We were fortunate to obtain the leases on two sites owned by our local government, one of which already had buildings on it that were set up as a boarding kennels and cattery. However, these buildings weren’t in a good state and needed major renovations.
In August 2021 we started work renovating the existing buildings, which were mainly for dogs but included a sick bay section for sick animals and very young kittens and puppies. We also put up new accommodation for cats.
Although not everything was completed as we’d have liked, we moved all our animals to the new premises in December 2021, and in January 2022 we officially opened our new shelter.
In our last financial year, we’re proud to have accomplished:
Sterilisations Inoculations General Vet Visits
Dogs 275 277 253
Cats 238 315 430
Total 513 592 683
Our veterinarian bills range in the region of R40,000 – R65,000 per month, taking into account that most are done for our local community who don’t have the means to pay for the pets’ expenses.
Finding forever homes
Everyone at LAC is focused on finding the best homes for the animals in their care and works hard to get them adoption ready. Animal caretaker Tenashe (nicknamed the dog whisperer) explains that his dream is to do and be more for the shelter – he’d love to be able to train the dogs to ensure they’re ready to be adopted and find their forever homes with the best manners. If animals are returned, he says it feels like they’ve failed the animals. He firmly believes that you don’t work with animals with your mind, but with your heart.
All the animals receive excellent care while waiting for their forever homes.
Langebaan Animal Care has several areas in which we work
1. Field workers that go out into the communities and monitor animals’ shelter, food and water. We assist in veterinary bills and taking their pets to the vet. We have clinic day where we subsidise food; in this we make no profit, in fact a loss. When they come, we also supply basic flea and tick control and monitor the animals’ condition. We go to a very poor community about 20km away called Green Village and also assist with their pets.
2. Our adoption and fostering team focuses on animals in need of temporary or forever homes.
3. Walkers take the sanctuary’s dogs for walks every day.
4. In the sanctuary’s cat section, our cat ladies are there every day ensuring that all the cats and kittens get given vitamins, and we take care of other people’s cats.
5. We run a feral cat programme where we trap cats, sterilise them and release them back into the colony. We pay for the vet bills and also supply cat food to the ladies who run these colonies.
6. We have an animal behaviourist on our team to monitor behaviour in our dogs.
7. We have a marketing and event section. Sadly, at this point, we don’t have someone heading this up.
8. Our charity shop is run to raise funds for our work.
9. The dedicated training section spends time with schoolchildren teaching them the values of how to keep pets and treat pets and teaching them the five animal rights*.
The only people in our organisation who receive remunerations are our three caretakers at the shelter. Everyone else does their volunteering for free. Our average monthly costs for all our work are well over R130,000, so we really have to work hard at resourcing funds.
You can help!
For the readers and particularly those in the Langebaan area, the most precious gift you can donate to the LAC is your time, as the majority of all the work undertaken is by volunteers. Get in touch with LAC to make arrangements and find out what their needs are, whether it’s popping in and just spending time with the animals with kind hands and warm heart or grabbing your toolbox and helping them fix the roof leaks.
There’ll always be something that requires someone’s time and skill to assist in making the LAC safe and functional for both the animals and staff.
*The Five Animal Rights (also called the Five Freedoms):
Freedom from hunger and thirst.
Freedom from discomfort.
Freedom from pain, injury or disease.
Freedom to express normal behaviour.
Freedom from fear and distress.