A desperately needed animal charity called Sedgefield Animal Matters (S.A.M.) has been formed by a group of like-minded animal lovers in Sedgefield.
Working in conjunction with their sister organisation KAWS – Knysna Animal Welfare Society and Knysna Vets in Sedgefield, their aim is to educate and involve our local community in proper pet care while raising public awareness to the plight of abused, unwanted and abandoned animals.
One of the main drives of Sedgefield Animal Matters is to spay and neuter adult animals to prevent careless breeding of unwanted puppies and kittens.
Using fund-raising and help from community donations and local veterinary assistance, a good number of dogs and cats have had these operations. It is a vitally important and on-going necessary project.
Photo below - SAM Facebook
In July 2020, in the midst of COVID-19, an unexpected opportunity arose for SAM to improve its' income when a generous overseas sponsor provided them with the means to open a charity shop.
With support from enthusiastic volunteers willing to give of their time to man the shop and donors happily handing over unwanted goods, the store has enabled this dedicated group of people to supply many animals in need, with food, emergency rescue and protection and health care.
Call by and visit them at the shop to chat and to find out more about this worthy animal welfare organisation.
"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated."Mahatma Gandhi
Sedgefield Animal Matters also has a very active and informative WhatsApp "Lost/found/homeless pets" group that keeps certain members constantly on the go.
Alerted by a post on the group, that some dog is on the loose that shouldn't be, or a cat that hasn't returned home from a night on the tiles, a SAM volunteer and (the community at large) will respond!
Sometimes, someone alerts the group to an animal seen to be in trouble and SAM has a vehicle enabling them to help in that instance.
Many people do not understand the commitment that owning a pet entails. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Like us, other living creatures have their own physiological and mental/emotional needs according to their species. Therefore, it is wise to consider getting advice from a vet if you are buying a pet for the first time so you understand the needs of the pet you are buying. Different breeds of dogs and cats, birds and reptiles, etc. can have very specific needs that have to be understood for them to live happy and healthy lives.
Unfortunately, too frequently
people buy animals in pet-shops without having a clue of how to look after
them. Pet ownership should be regarded as a long
term commitment – some dogs (depending on the breed) and cats can live 15 years
A parrot can live 50 years and more although a personal “pet hate” of mine is a bird in cage. It is a dubious practice and as inappropriate as confining a human to a small dark room for his whole life. A bird has wings and is meant to fly. Many do so in flocks. It's unnatural and cruel to keep an isolated bird in a cage, as a pet, where it may live its whole life out without ever experiencing the freedom of flight or interacting with its own kind.
However, I’m not suggesting that one should set free a bird raised in captivity. It would not know how to fend for itself, to find food or know what’s its natural enemies are so its freedom would be most likely short-lived. It's just an abominable human practice like animals trained to perform tricks in circuses to entertain people!
Would-be Pet owners should know that it is not cheap to take care of a pet properly. Like children, they need vaccinations, monthly flea and tick control measures, de-worming, medical (veterinary) attention if they get sick or hurt, correct food and a habitat suited to their needs. e.g. a Jack Russell may be a small dog but it is hyperactive and energetic so it needs a good amount of exercise daily. To confine it to a small area in a flat is less than ideal for such a breed.
To be healthy and happy, pets need love, regular attention and species appropriate food, water, and shelter. The more a family or an individual interacts with their pets the more their personalities will develop. A neglected animal will not attain its full potential and develop an engaging personality.
To get a puppy or a kitten 6-8 weeks old if a family is at work and school all day is thoughtless and cruel. Like children, they need company, attention, stimulation and gentle training. So called naughtiness is just the natural curiosity, playfulness and boredom (short attention span) of young things.
Animals are not toys and should not be the "flavour of the moment" because they are cute as puppies and kittens but abandoned when they grow up. It is also the worst idea to give a puppy/kitten as a Christmas present to someone who may not want it!
Don’t get a pet if you or other family members are not prepared to invest time
and yourselves to bond and create a relationship with the animal. e.g. A
young dog benefits from puppy training i.e. being taught to walk on a lead and
to socialise with its own kind and other family pets.
Pets cannot be left to fend for themselves when owners go away for any length of time although many people seem to think they can! Arrangements must be made for pets to be taken care of in kennels or by a reliable friend or responsible house-sitter. Leave enough food to cover the period you are away, your vet’s contact number and your number too.
Some pets become exceedingly anxious without your presence for an extended period so make sure you consider the best way for them to be taken care of in your absence. Some get out of their yards, go looking for their family and get lost - a major trauma for the animal and its family!
If you are aware of a neglected or abused animal you can contact Sedgefield Animal Matters anonymously. If you have an animal that you can no longer cope with or afford for whatever reason, contact S.A.M.
No animal deserves to abandoned because the owner finds it troublesome, or in ill-health or because of old age – so do the right thing and contact an animal welfare organisation to fetch it or take it there yourself. Euthanasia is kinder than starvation or abandonment. Sedgefield Animal Matters will find a way to help all needy animals brought to their attention, wild or domestic.
Charity Shop Open Times -Mon-Fri 10am-2pm Sat 9am - 1pm
Every Saturday, weather permitting, SAM volunteers run an Adoption Outreach at the Engen I plus next to the Mosaic Market. If you are looking for a pet, it's worth coming to take a look there first and perhaps you'll be able to give an animal a much needed home. Some may be rescue animals, others their families are moving and cannot take them with or perhaps their owner has died or their circumstances have changed and they cannot afford their pet. Whatever the reason, you can make a difference in that animal's life.
Any cash donations towards the spaying and neutering of animals as well as any donations of old kennels, beds, blankets, food bowls and dog / cat food is gratefully accepted and can be handed over at the Charity Shop or will be collected if necessary.
Bank account details – Sedgefield Animal Matters, Capitec Savings Account No. 146 444 8521, George Branch Code 4470010.
Photo SAM Facebook