The Louis Trichardt SPCA currently faces a major crisis as they have nowhere to disposed of euthanized animals. “We don’t know what to do anymore,” said Ms Yolanda Cronjé (pictured above), chairperson of the local SPCA.
Date: 21 October 2017 By: Andries van Zyl
The Louis Trichardt SPCA is in the grip of a severe crisis by not being able to dispose of the carcasses of euthanized animals.
At present, the SPCA’s freezers are filled to capacity with carcasses. “We don’t know what to do anymore. At this stage, we are left with no other option but to delay euthanizing animals, which in turn places an extra burden on an already cash-strapped SPCA. It is not only the animals at our kennels. We also do emergency cases such as animals found at the side of the road or owners who cannot afford to privately euthanize a pet,” said Yolanda Cronjé, chairperson of the local SPCA.
The crisis was brought about by the opening of the new municipal dumping site just southwest of Louis Trichardt on 1 July this year. Before, the Louis Trichardt SPCA had an arrangement with the Makhado Municipality to bury the carcasses of animals at the old Vondeling dumping site. “We were informed that the new dumping site’s permit conditions do not allow for the disposal of animal carcasses,” said Cronjé. This was confirmed by the Department of Environmental Affairs' permit conditions, which clearly state that waste that may not be accepted at the new site includes “any infectious waste which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of humans or animals; in the research pertaining to this; in the manufacturing or testing of biological agents, including blood products and contaminated blood products, cultures, pathological wastes, sharps, human and animal anatomical wastes and isolation wastes that contain infectious substances.”
This “new” permit condition sparked a lengthy correspondence between the SPCA and the Makhado Municipality to get permission to have the carcasses disposed of at the new site. It was pointed out that the municipality had an obligation to assist the SPCA, as the SPCA in effect acted as the municipality’s “small animal pound”, which the municipality must have by law. It was also pointed out that the municipality had ceased to contribute financially to the SPCA, despite Council's decision in 1990 that they would donate 50% of all dog license fees to the SPCA. The collection of dog license fees has since stopped and it has been years since the municipality has made any contribution to the SPCA. Regarding this, the SPCA asked the municipality for financial assistance if they cannot allow for the burial of carcasses at the new dumping site, as the Department of Agriculture (adjacent to their premises along the Vondeling road) has an incinerator, but they charge R106 per carcass.
To date, the SPCA has received no feedback or any commitment from the municipality, a municipality which, in their 2015/16 annual report, indicated that their power and function included “facilities for the accommodation, care and burial of animals.”
The Zoutpansberger heard of the SPCA’s plight and sent through a series of questions to the municipality on 11 September. The questions, among others, included whether the municipality was aware of the arrangement that the SPCA acted as their small animal pound; whether the municipality’s annual budget made provision for supporting the SPCA; when last money was paid over to the SPCA with regard to dog license fees; and why the by-laws regarding dog license fees were not enforced anymore?
To date, the Zoutpansberger has received no response from the municipality, apart from municipal spokesperson Mr Louis Bobodi's indication on a weekly basis that they are busy sourcing the information. In the meantime, the SPCA’s efforts have also not yielded any response or action. “The problem is just getting bigger and bigger. At present, we are looking at our options. These include getting our own incinerator, but it is just too expensive. These incinerators cost hundreds of thousands of rands, not forgetting all the legal requirements that need to be adhered to. We would therefore really appreciate it if the municipality could assist us, seeing that we are fulfilling part of their duties by serving not only the Makhado municipal area, but the whole of the Vhembe District's municipal area,” said Cronjé.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.