Animal Anti Cruelty League, Durban & Pietermaritzburg Branch
The Durban Branch of the AACL was established in Durban North in 1959, and has been active for the past 60 years, protecting and caring for animals in the greater Durban and Piettermaritzburg area, working mainly in informal settlements and outlying under-privileged areas. In February 2012, we moved from Durban North to our current beautiful location at Artesia Farm in the Leckhampton Valley.
The League doesn't rely on communities to bring animals to it. but proactively enters into informal settlements and townships to seek out animals in need. The League's vehicles and field workers are well known and trusted, enabling freedom of movement amongst residents and thier animals.
Sterilisation is AACL's primary focus. Particularly in areas where communities can barely feed themselves, the cost of sterilisation and vaccination is untenable, resulting in female dogs and cats being pregnant for most of their lives, until their bodies can no longer withstand the ongoing pregnancies. Male dogs are often maimed or even killed in fights as packs pursue a single female, and many unwanted puppies and kittens end up neglected, and dying of hunger and disease. It is here that the League's field workers seek out problem areas, collect animals for sterilisation and then return them to their owners. All these sterilised animals are sutured with dissolvable stitches, vaccinated and inoculated against rabies.
Where we can secure suitable funding, we run campaigns within selected townships and informal settlements to offer free sterilisation of dogs and cats. In addition, as tramsport is often difficult for some people wishing to have their animals sterilised, we offer our vehicles and field staff to collect animals from as far afield as Tongaat in the north to Umkomaas to the south. These pets are transported to the nearest supporting veterinary clinic and returned at the end of the day wth a bag of food provided by the AACL to aid in recovery.
Our mobile dipping trailer allows the League to undertake regular trips into rural areas and informal settlements, providing a free service in the eradication of tick and flea infestations. Such interventions help reduce the ravages of mange and deadly diseases.
Where animals are rescued, the AACL will wherever possible provide the necessary care and attention to rehabilitate and socialise these animals for future adoption. All homes are inspected to ensure a caring, safe and happy environment, with follow-up inspections undertaken thereafter.
The League also undertakes the trapping of feral cats for sterilisation. Once sterilised, the colony can be managed and controlled. The Cat Haven at Artesia Farm, which currently provides a home to 51 cats, has been a sanctuary for feral and abused cats for the past 16 years. Many cats that have lived in unthinkable circumstances have come to live out their lives in the shelter.
Education is a vital aspect of the League's objectives. It is recognised that the education of our children at an early age, on the care adn well-being of animals, is a most effective way of tackling animal abuse and neglect. We do presentations at schoos and libraries and invite schools to bring their pupils to our premises where they can interact with animals and learn about animal care. Learners are encouraged to bring to the attention of their teachers any acts of cruelty or neglect they observe. This information can then be passed onto the League so that the necesaary action can be taken. Field workers are also trained in the education of adult residents regarding the correct care of their pets, helping to dispel myths and traditional 'cures' that are in many cases detrimental to the health of their animals.
In order to bring in some of our own funding, we operate a tea garden, charity shop (stocked by donations of all sorts of items from our supporters), and boarding kennels for cats and dogs. Happily, most of our boarding clients are repeat customers who are very satisfied with the care and love their pets receive in our Cat and Dog Hotels.