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 SPCA - does it do good work, or bad?

This website has a newsletter (see link at left of screen) These are comments from the readers. The opinions expressed on this page may not necessarily reflect the opinion of the webmaster.

SG says, "Firstly, I am a dog lover and am blessed to share my life with 9 lovely dogs, ranging in age from 1 year to 11 years old.  I am also a dog trainer, and run a puppy training and socialisation school, so I am very knowledgeable about everything dog - and am always eager to learn more!
About 11 years ago, I purchased my first puppy - a beautiful Rough Collie named PJ - from a wonderful lady in Pietermaritzburg. It took a long time to find this particular breed of dog in KZN, especially since I insisted on being able to meet the breeders and see both parents and the environment before purchasing.  The puppy had been inoculated and dewormed prior to me taking him home. I was advised by another dog lover that instead of paying a private vet's bill (which I was prepared to do), I should rather take PJ to the SPCA for his inoculations, and give the vet consultation fee to the SPCA as a donation instead.  I thought this was a wonderful idea, as I was all for doing something good for the SPCA, and I took PJ for his second inoculation and deworming to the SPCA in Durban. Unfortunately, the vet on duty was a very rough lady who seemed to be in a terrible rush, and she overdosed PJ on deworming syrup (as confirmed by a private vet) and he got very sick and died 2 days later.  Needless to say, I was devastated and when my parents called the SPCA to tell them what had happened (I was only 15 years old at the time), we were told that there was probably something wrong with the dog or we had not taken proper care of him, and that is why he had died and the SPCA was not responsible. We insisted that the SPCA was responsible and consented to send PJ to them for a post-mortem exam to determine cause of death. However, following the post-mortem they said that the cause of death was inconclusive - so we didn't even get an apology from the SPCA for the death of PJ.
It took me a long time after PJ's death to finally decide to get another puppy - and I have never been able to have another Rough Collie even though I dearly love the breed - its would just be too painful a reminder of PJ. For a long time, I was angry with the SPCA and thought of them as being heartless killers of innocent dogs...but, thankfully I matured as I got older and realised that while the loss of PJ will always weigh heavily on my heart, and the callous way in which that vet at the SPCA behaved on that day will always be remembered, there are those that truly have a love for what they do at the SPCA and are committed to making the lives of all the lost, abandoned, and abused animals worth living. It helped that I have met people that volunteer for the SPCA and its fund-raising events over the course of my dog training years, and they have shared stories with me about animals with happy endings, all thanks to the SPCA.

By now, I have forgiven those at the SPCA responsible for what happened to my PJ, and I like to think that he is happy somewhere up there in that big puppy palace in the sky...

My husband and I often visit the SPCA just to play with the dogs and give them treats, and we make a point of donating food to them as often as possible.

Sometimes the SPCA may come off looking cruel when they euthanize animals, and yes, they may mess up big time like they did with my PJ, but at the end of the day, there are so many animals at the SPCA just waiting for a good home...instead of wasting our time and energy on being angry at and opposed to the organisation known as the SPCA, we should rather dedicate our energy and time to improving the plight of its many animals...


ML says, “I read 2 articles about the SPCA: The one was about 9 dogs that were taken away from the owner. If you had a look at the dogs, it was obviously that they were taken good care of, they were in excellent condition.

The other article was on a horse that was in such bad condition, the
SPCA were called out. They got a vet to care for the horse and the
horse were returned to its owner.

 They take away dogs from an owner who takes care of them, but
return a horse to an owner who couldn't afford a vet to see to his poor
animal and don't take proper care of him.

The 9 dogs will probably be put down, because the chance
of being adopted at that late age, is 0. Why take away dogs from the
owner just to feed them for a week and put them down after that??? This is WRONG!

I always donated money to the SPCA, but I am going to stop my debit
order and rather donate to wet-nose (at least until they mess up).”

 ST says, “The SPCA gets hundreds of unwanted and stray dogs daily. They give them a chance for a certain time. You cannot expect them to keep them forever. If people here in SA wouldn't be so greedy (breed, breed and breed again to make money) and selfish, the pets wouldn't end up in the SPCA in the first place. Do not get a dog if you can't care for it. Which means, pay for medical bills, food, etc. Don't get a dog if you work the whole day. Don't get a dog if you don't have time for it or for nice walks. A bored dog will eventually start doing "silly things". It will call for it's pack and bark and annoy neighbors. Most of these unfortunate dogs end up in the SPCA.

I adopted a dog from the SPCA last year. She is the best thing that could happen to me...a beautiful, faithful creature. The SPCA was absolutely wonderful. They were helpful, had all the information about the dog (as far as they knew as she was found abandoned) and managed to check my property the same day, so I could pick her up the next day. The dogs I saw there were wonderfully cared for, medically looked after and the staff I met knew every single dog by name. This is a bunch of dedicated people that try to make a difference. They are trying hard to find them homes, but if it doesn't happen, well they have to put them down. What else can they do?  How many people move homes or countries and try to get rid of their dogs? How many dogs do you think end up in the vet office being put down, because it is inconvenient and expensive to relocate a dog?

Things won't change, dogs or pets in general will always have to suffer from incompetent owners. But I pull my hat for the people in the SPCA or other places like that, who really try hard to give those dogs a chance.”

M & G say, "We have a lovely inspector at the Krugersdorp SPCA.  She really tries to home the animals she goes to areas to wash and give general inspections to animal where owners cannot afford the vet.  I agree that maybe they put the animals down too quickly but when you see what they bring in from the townships and the lack of funds, you would understand.

As for the puppy I agree with you about small children but were you there when the lady took the puppy back?  Do you have any first hand knowledge on
how she told them about the dog?  Maybe they did the best for the pup.  I feel it is a pity the SPCA and any animal welfare do not get help from the town councils or the government.  They are helping all the people and the animals. Instead of finding fault with the welfares how about getting involved and start to help and understand the problems.  I did - very scary.

SH says, "I have adopted dogs from the SPCA and each one of them had a behaviour problem (jumping walls, running away, etc - one had cancer and had to be put down).   I would rather go to Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre in Pretoria. Dogs with behaviour problems are given psychological treatment and dogs which have been abused (found in squatter camps and on mine dumps) are rehabilitated.   It is a "no kill" organisation and no animal is ever put down unless in extreme pain.   Last year I got my Minpin/Jack Russel cross from them and she is just lovely.   She was 3 years old, had been found abandoned at 15 months and had spent all that time at Wetnose.'

JS says, "Here is a happy story about the SPCA. We had a Maltese cross Toy-Pom. She was lovely. Unfortunately, one day she got lost when our gate was open. We honestly believe that someone picked her up as she wouldn't run away. We searched and searched
but could not find Bonnie. A year later, our Jack Russell - Candice, decided to roam the streets - this is quite usual for her! A neighbour down the street picked her up and took her to the SPCA. Her
chip was scanned and we were called to fetch her. When we got there, the lady who ran the Maraisburg SPCA told us that they'd recently picked up a dog looking just like Bonnie, in a squatter camp quite a far way away from us. We had a look and it was her! After a year we got her back."

AF says, "We adopted a young Ridgeback from the SPCA.  So we went through the processes and our property was approved by the IDC inspectors.  Our property is in fact very small and I knew that it was probably unsuitable for a dog like a Ridgie - knowing how they love to run and run and run and.... okay you get the picture, but I had to save him and help him.  Not unexpectedly, Rocky soon began to fill out, grow confident and play like a normal dog.  Unfortunately he also developed the annoying habit of a) eating all the small trees and shrubs in my garden, b) climbing on our chairs, c) stealing food if he could reach it (he had fended for himself on the streets for some time before SPCA took him).   Anyway, to cut a long story short, I felt we were being unfair keeping this lolloping, long-legged dog in a small front garden (even though we could walk him - it wasn't enough).  He was concussing himself daily on our fence trying to get up a good run across the grass.  I first phoned the SPCA and the first thing I was told was, "For goodness sake don't bring him back here - we'll have to put him down".  At least they were immediately honest and she was decent enough to give me a number of someone who was involved in re-homing dogs and I'm happy to tell you that Rocky now lives on a 3 acre small-holding with 2 other dogs, two active little boys and license to sleep on the couch if he likes and lots and lots of running space!  

But yes, the SPCA does have a rather drastic "no return" policy which in their defence, I think is a really good idea.  To adopt an animal, you need to pay a fee (also a good filtration measure) and it's a good deterrent to potential abusers.  SPCA doesn't have enough funds (in general) to keep feeding and looking after the pets they take in on a daily basis to take back pets that are suddenly "unsuitable", for whatever reason.  With a bit of effort, should one need to re-home a pet, it's always better to advertise, or contact different breed clubs and ask around people you know… it’s worth the effort."


The SPCA collects stray pets and rehomes them. That's what God wants to do with us, only He doesn't force us to go home, He just calls us. We have the free will to disobey, to our detriment. The Bible says, "People go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways, so I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest." Psalm 95 - 10, 11. 

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