Unless one has worked or volunteered at an animal welfare organisation it is difficult to comprehend the complexity of sheltering and protecting animals.
Despite South Africa being a developing country many of our Animal Rescuers are leaders in their fields with organisations ranging in size from very small to very large.
They range in variety from dealing primarily with dogs and cats and in some cases farm animals and wildlife to those specifically focused on horses and donkeys, farmed animals and wildlife (land and marine), animal welfare hospitals.
𝗟𝗘𝗧’𝗦 𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗥𝗧 𝗪𝗜𝗧𝗛 𝗔 𝗟𝗜𝗦𝗧 𝗢𝗙 𝗩𝗔𝗥𝗜𝗢𝗨𝗦 𝗥𝗘𝗤𝗨𝗜𝗥𝗘𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦
Kennels and Cattery
Let’s put that myth to bed, there are few typical days in animal welfare organisations.
However, for the sake of this exercise let’s look at an organisation which is neither very small nor very big but does have sufficient staff to have people in specific roles but no onsite clinic or hospital which few animal organisations have.
Although most may have a staff member at the premises, the staff who arrive early will be tasked with greeting the animals and checking them to ensure that there have been no problems during the night. For example their stools and urine will be observed for abnormalities.
This will be undertaken early. Standard will be to check if everyone is eating, and if someone is not, to make a note on their health record, notify the kennel supervisor and observe them. Their bowls will also be freshened up.
𝗛𝘆𝗴𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗲 – 𝗞𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗹 𝗖𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴
This ideally takes place before the rescue centre is opened and with minimal noise so as not to scare nervous animals. During this process faeces and urine are also observed for abnormalities.
Removal of faeces should be done two to three times daily.
When the Inspectors arrive, reports which have not been attended to from the previous day as well as new cruelty reports are triaged, although the previous reports would normally be given priority.
When the Inspectors return later in the day they will write up and submit their reports on each case.
𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗩𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲𝘀
The collation of animal collections might be placed under the Inspectorate and the Driver/s given the list of animals to be collected. Should there be any sick animals in the kennels a Driver would also have to take them to the Vet who works with the organisation or the Vet might come to the facility as many do.
(It should be noted here that the majority Vets support animal welfares by providing them with free services and only charging materials and medicines at cost.)
The Driver/s also collect supplies as well as assist with the transport materials required for outreach programmes.
Kennel staff check the documentation of newly arrived animals, taking in animals and completing admission forms, ensuring that all documentation and records are completed up to date, taking lost and found reports including those which arrive by e-mail, assisting potential adopters with the animals and screening them, making arrangements for pre- and post-home checks via the Inspectorate and following up on young animals which have to be sterilised.
They are also responsible for observing the characteristics and temperament of the animals in their care.
𝗘𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴
These two functions require a great deal of expertise comprising planning, strategy and action and are a key component to making an impact in the prevention of cruelty by empowering people with knowledge and making the organisation sustainable through bringing money in by way of donations, attending markets, charity shops, auctions, legacy programmes, grant applications etc.
(In rural areas animal welfare organisations often cover vast areas with few fundraising opportunities.)
This is different function to Fundraising and ideally the two roles are not combined although in smaller organisations separation of the two roles is not easy.
PR/Marketing is essential for building the brand, promoting projects and programmes via different media and dealing with the media where high profile issues arise. This is particularly so in a country like South Africa where there are few donors available and many welfares across all categories (estimated at 200,000 in 20201) competing for the same funds.
Last but not least is the person who holds it all together and liaises with the Management Committee. The General Manager’s role is critical in ensuring that the organisation is running smoothly and following instructions from the Management Committee.
The GM, in conjunction with Department Managers, ensures that all departments are running smoothly and within budget, determine the need for vehicles and trailers and equipment, staff deployment,
It also essential for the GM with the Admin Team ensure that monthly and annual financial reports, statistics and departmental operational reports are provided to the Management Committee. These reports are essential for providing knowledge and back to Fundraising and PR/Marketing.
The adage ‘the buck stops here’ applies to the GM and rests on his/her shoulders.
Source and author:
D.B. Thorpe who has spent almost 40 years in animal welfare in South Africa with experience as Adoption Counsellor, document design, Cruelty Inspector, General Manager, Poundmaster, Director of the NSPCA as well as in the development of education materials, fundraising and grant applications.