Dear FORA supporter
It has been a while since you received a newsletter, and so much has happened that we want to share with you.
During March this year FORA saw a new interim committee take over the running of FORA which at that stage was basically bankrupt. Four previous employees, including the Manager Breggie de Beer, left. We obtained the services of Clive Kinghorn, manager at Ontdekkers Vet, to assist on a half day basis as Shelter Manager. Francois van Heerden joined as Kennel Manager. We closed the Doggie Parlour, Coffee Shop and Pet shop as these outlets were not financially viable. Although we had the services of a veterinarian, we closed the clinic to the public as we were waiting for re-registration of the clinic, and we only took care of our own animals. At that stage we had 700 dogs and 260 cats, and we had to make the decision that we could not take in any new animals. We had to take care of our own first. Meetings with the SPCA and other AW organisations confirmed that we were on the right track. The animals at FORA were not all in good shape – overcrowded kennels, and not enough people (and money!) to take proper care. Insufficient records were kept, we literally did not know who was who in the FORA zoo! Unfortunately we had to make unpopular decisions as well, and up to now, a total of 90 dogs and cats were put to sleep. One has to make that decision when you look at an animal and there is no quality of life left. Many people often overlook "cruelty" in the name of "no kill and keeping them alive". If FORA wants to be an A-grade shelter, the quality of an animal's life must be first priority. We also had an outbreak of distemper in the beginning as there were no quarantine facilities for new animals being admitted, and no disinfection protocols either. Staff and helpful volunteers spread viruses without even knowing it.
With the wonderful help of Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre and a lot of volunteers, we used the Mother's Day weekend and managed to vaccinate, deworm, deflea, photograph, open a file and vaccine card, give a description, number, collar and a name to 420 dogs. Suddenly we had animals that we "knew". The rest of the dogs were done by the FORA staff in the weeks that followed. Wetnose staff also assisted in cleaning and disinfecting the entire shelter over the weekend, and I’m sure the dogs had lots to talk about once they left! Wetnose also took 47 of our more timid, scared, "problem" dogs to their Centre near Bronkhorspruit and many of them have been adopted by now. Cat Village took 12 of our feral cats into their care where they now have the space to roam free while being protected. Our heartfelt thanks to these two organisations for their help! Add to that a very BIG thank you to CLAW and their team for helping out with sterilisations. It was just so amazing to receive help and work together with other animal welfare organisations, the way it should be in perfect times …
We were busy on Face book telling people what we needed and what was going on; so many volunteers came back and offered their help; we asked for "stuff" and people were quick to react. We asked for pallets to create raised sleeping areas for the dogs so that they don't have to be on the concrete anymore. We bought some and a lot were donated! We covered them with rubber strips and voila!, new beds! People donated so many blankets, each dog has two! The igloo kennels were also put on top of pallets and away from the cold ground. We asked for shade cloth to protect the runs from the cold winter wind, and loads were delivered! Volunteers arrived to do the work as well! Suddenly the shelter became a quiet place… the animals were more relaxed, no more "looking-through-the-fence-and-fighting-with-my-neighbour" going on like before.
We realised that a lot of our animals' health problems came from the sandy areas in the runs. Once it is all concreted, it will be easier to clean and disinfect, dogs will be healthier, less medicines, etc etc. We have done a few runs but need serious financial help to do the rest. We have the use of a cement mixer, but unfortunately no cement to mix ….
One item that came up tops throughout all our problems and hardship is the attitude of our staff. Obviously when this bunch of strangers took over, everyone was nervous and it took a while to gain their trust. I am so happy to report that it is a different team than what we had then. Our kennel workers have no problem to start mixing cement in the afternoons to fix more runs; they have been moved around and given specific areas that they are responsible for; we even colour coded them with the areas they work in! They have their "own" equipment that they are responsible for; they work together. FORA belongs to all of them, and they know it.
When we took over, FORA was (still is) in financial crises. We just had to survive - for the animals in our care and the people who work here. We managed to do a lot with a little money but a lot of effort! We had to gain the confidence of our public again, and our donors. It may look frivolous to buy overalls and gumboots when we could hardly afford it, but we had to think of the morale of our staff as well, and in the end it really made such a difference. And of course, we needed to show the donor what we did with their donation!
Our biggest scoop is getting a new deal from our landlord. Our rental has been cut drastically, and our thanks to them for being so kind to us! We have also been given a period of 2 years to stay before we maybe have to move, or be in a position to purchase the property. When FORA moved to Luipaardsvlei end of 2009, a lot of money was raised for the new property, but the purchase was delayed by rezoning, so the facilities were rented. The money was used to upgrade the previously disused kennels, improve the cattery, install living space for the workers, create the Clinic and the Old Age Home for the dogs, as well as operating costs and to survive. That money has now run out, hence the interim committee's "take-over". We are still not out of the woods!
We have had a lot of animals adopted, but we need to get our numbers down from the current 420 dogs and 160 cats to 300 dogs and 100 cats before we can even think of opening our doors to accept new intakes, plus we need to build an intake area, where new animals are kept separate for at least two weeks to make sure they are disease free. Please also note that we are only allowed to accept animals that are signed over to us. Strays must go to the SPCA - that is the law.
So where to from here? We need help. Lots of it! All kinds of help:
* Support for our fundraisers.
We survive only on donations from you: the public and our supporters.
Your biggest gift to us would be a monthly debit order.We already have a dedicated group of monthly donors for our Kennel Sponsorships – and other special monthly donors – Thank you so much to all of you! We just need to add a whole lot more… Once we know that we'll have a steady income and that we can survive on that, then we can use special fundraising funds for special items at FORA.
It is hard knowing that you have to fundraise for food and salaries, and the stress of not knowing whether this month is going to be better than last month is very bad. I think many animal welfare, or even human welfare organisations are in the same boat, all we can do is hope and trust and believe that our FORA supporters will be there for us. If not, …
Fundraisers in the pipeline:
The above show also on 22 September at 19h30
30 September 2012:Royal Canin Dog Day - wonderful news that the event is been held on our doorstep this year at AVIANTO CLUBHOUSE in Muldersdrift - from 9am. Entry fee is R60 per person and R60 per dog (R10 per entry for dog & human will go towards the animal welfare organizations attending on the day). FORA has been granted a stall on the day so we hope you to see you and your furkids at the walk.
Donations: FORA, Nedbank, branch 190541, Account 1905-151-209.
Thank you to every single loyal supporter who has donated cash, time, effort and love over the past few months and in the past. We truly hope that we can still count on you for our future. Should anyone have brilliant ideas of how we can create some serious income streams, let's hear it!
ps. we have a book shop and a jumble shop in Krugersdorp, any donations of jumble and 2nd hand books can be dropped off at the shelter.