Good food and health care for neglected dogs

Gershwin Johnstone, 14, with his puppy Troubles.

Hitting the road in her blue Daihatsu, Vanessa Martin of Eastridge makes her way to Freedom Park to feed and provide medical care to neglected and abandoned animals.

Ms Martin is the founder of Mitchell’s Plain Animal Welfare, which she started in 2014.

“I used to work full-time, as an administration clerk, and on my way home from work at night I used to see many stray animals wandering the streets without any supervision.

“There are so many feeding schemes for residents. I wanted to start one for animals too,” she said.

Ms Martin and three volunteers work out of the boot of her car and encourage residents to bring their animals for de-worming and a dip for fleas and ticks.

She partners with Fallen Angels, Dancers Love Dogs and the Animal Welfare Association in Philippi and together they plan to host a mass sterilisation drive.

“There are close to 70 animals in Freedom Park that need to be sterilised and it’s going to cost between R30 000 and R50 000. Volunteer Justin Bredecamp of Beacon Valley said he decided to dedicate his time to help animals who are not being treated properly by their owners.

“While growing up, I always loved animals. All the organisation wants to do is give these animals a better life.”

Ms Martin is appalled at the conditions many animals have to live

“We have seen residents feed their animals potato peels and mielie meal. We’ve seen dogs being chained up and they are forced to sleep out in the open without shelter.

“Animals also have needs as much as humans. I also want to encourage residents to get their animals vaccinated.”

They have also noted the over-breeding and ill treatment of pit bulls in the area. Her message to the community is to treat their pets as if they are part of the family unit.

“We offer our services to residents in Freedom Park twice a week and we also try and rescue neglected and abused animals.”

Ms Martin can be contacted on 071 100 2110.