GABORONE (XINHUA) – Located in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, the Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) is rescuing stray animals that have been abandoned by their owners and are roaming the streets.
“We receive reports about stray dogs and bring them to the shelter; we do our best to find good homes for dogs and cats for adoption,” said national manager of BSPCA Kenneth Ditshweu.
In an interview with Xinhua, Ditshweu said that when a stray dog is found, they would transport it to a quarantine site for 14 days. The dog is then posted on their social media page for the owner to come and claim it. If the owner is not found within 14 days, the dog is sterilised and taken to a recovery facility for seven days to heal. Then it will join the other dogs and be ready for new owners to adopt.
Ditshweu said that on average, they have about 70 adult dogs and 30 puppies, as well as 20 adult cats and 20 kittens.
They also provide boarding services where they take care of or look after the dogs for customers who want to go on vacation or business trips. Ditshweu, however, said the shelter does not go out looking for the dogs because of limited resources and that they are a non-profit organisation.
The shelter would rather attend to the animal if it is being abused or neglected after receiving reports.
“Because caring for the animals, such as feeding, vaccinating, trimming, and washing, is an expensive endeavour,” Ditshweu said, adding that to raise funds, they also have a bookstore where they sell used books and cafeteria items.
BSPCA also prevents animal cruelty by educating the public on good animal parenting skills. They inform the public that an animal has the right to food and water at least twice a day, as well as all nutrients and a well-balanced diet.
Furthermore, the public is told that dogs should be allowed to express themselves in order to avoid emotional stress and should not be chained all the time, and should be vaccinated annually against diseases such as rabies, which is provided free of charge by the government of Botswana.
Animal caretaker at BSPCA Thapelo Setlhako emphasised the importance of developing companionship and friendship with pets. “Most people get dogs to use as security, but they can get hurt trying to protect their owners.”
He explained that pets, whether a cat, dog, or rabbit, are like a man’s best friend. Because they are very social, they provide a loyal friendship and also aid in the relief of stress and fatigue.
Animal cruelty laws in the Southern African country have not been updated since 1966, and Ditshweu expressed concern that Botswana is falling behind when it comes to animal laws.
“When you look at the fines for people who are cruel to animals, it is way behind the times,” Ditshweu told Xinhua. He said, for example, people are fined only BWP50 (about USD4) for being barbaric to animals, regardless of how they abuse animals.
He emphasised the importance of updating the laws to demonstrate how Botswana cares for its animals, not only to protect them but also to demonstrate compassion for them.