For many thousands of years, man has relied on cats and dogs not only for companionship, but to perform many useful tasks in our daily lives. This relationship has been a mutually beneficial and
successful one – so successful in fact that these creatures have thrived in the care of mankind to the extent that we now face a serious overpopulation crisis. Without the threat of predators or
natural factors, dog and cat populations have spiralled out of control, to the point where there are not enough loving homes to accommodate them.
Thousands of stray cats and dogs now slink along the edges of society – unwanted, unloved and left to fend for themselves. Years of domestication have left these animals unable to survive without the care of their benefactors – and the only outcome for them is suffering and death through starvation, disease, freezing and road accidents. Some may be surrendered to local SPCA, waiting for a new home or being put down, some may be even rounded up to spend the rest of their miserable existence in dog fighting rings facing unspeakable torture.
These stray animals have also become a serious problem and a health hazard, particularly in our townships. Their excrement soils parks and streets; they tip over rubbish bins, spread parasites and carry diseases such as rabies. In their desperate need for survival, they can become aggressive and a threat to other animals and people, especially children, and their numbers are increasing every day due to rampant, uncontrolled reproduction.
In just six years, one unspayed dog and her offspring can lead to 67 000 births while the cat population can be expected to increase by 420 000 in seven years from just one cat and her litter.
Not all of these are stray animals – some are them are deliberate pairings by breeders who sell the puppies for profit, some are bred by pet owners wanting their pet to reproduce for whatever reason, and some litters are accidental.
Even if pet owners find homes for these puppies, there is no guarantee that these dogs or their progeny will not end up on the streets eventually, continuing the cycle. Mature female dogs or cats are able to conceive a litter long before they are a year old and can continue to do so about every six months.
With thousands of unspayed animals out there, it is not difficult to imagine the magnitude of this problem.
The solution is simple – sterilization of as many dogs and cats as possible in Namibia, in order to keep the population at a sustainable level. This is a massive task, but the Have-a-Heart Project is determined to do just that.
Registered with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Namibia as a non-profit organization (Reg no 21/2014/0378) the Have-a-Heart project provides free spay and neuter services and vaccinations for animals in low and no income communities. Following the ‘divide-and-conquer’ principle, the Have-a-Heart Project is overseen by a board of directors. The town representatives and their committees organize fundraising activities in their own area in order to host regular ‘spayathons’ in underprivileged communities.
Currently, the following towns are participating in the project:
Aus, Bethanie, Grunau, Henties Bay, Kamanjab, Karasburg, Karibib, Katima Mulilo, Keetmanshoop, Khorixas, Luderitz, Okahandja, Omitara, Otjiwarongo, Outjo, Rundu, Swakopmund, Uis, Usakos, Walvis Bay, Windhoek and Witvlei.
The Have-a-Heart Project organises Spay Days in conjunction with many Namibian Vets, who are generously supporting the efforts of the Project to help Namibia’s less fortunate dogs and cats and reducing the number of unwanted animals by offering a very discounted rate for spay/neuter service.
Every spayed or neutered animals will of course also receive pain medication, a vitamin injection, a treatment against internal and external parasites as well as vaccination against e.g. Rabies to make sure to give the animal and the humans around it the best chance possible to stay healthy.
The Have-a-Heart initiative is heavily reliant on public support. Here’s how you can help:
1. Get informed:
Visit the Have-A-Heart website or the Have-A-Heart Facebook page or the Have-A-Heart Instagram page “Haveaheart_Namibia” for more information.
2. Spread the word:
Tell your friends about the Have-a-Heart Project. Share our pages and posts on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram and refer them to our website.
3. Make a donation
Every cent counts and ensure we will also in future be able to help as many animals as possible. So far in the last 4 years Have a Heart has been able to sterilise more than 5000 animals all over Namibia, but there are many many more waiting for us!
Despite the fact we are offered a very low rate for sterilisaton services by many Namibian Veterinarians, the Project is mainly in need of financial support or help with fundraising.
But the following items are gratefully welcomed to hand out during spay days:
– Food Bowls, toys and treats
– Leads and collars
– Dry dog food
– Dry cat food
– Tick and flea prevention
– Black plastic garbage bags
– Used plastic shopping bags
– Large plastic bin for dipping and washing dogs and cats
Monetary Donation: to make a monetary donation via EFT, please see our banking details:
Account Name: Have a Heart Mobile
Account Number: 2000 291 649
Bank: Bank Windhoek
Branch: 485-971 (Luderitz)
In order to support a specific town we are working in, please remember the note for us under references.
Your nearest Have-a-Heart representative will be delighted to hear from you – contact us under the mail address provided above and offer your services at their next fundraising or spay event.
5. Do your own fundrasing. The possibilities are endless!
Have a bake sale, sell your second-hand clothes, encourage your family, friends, employer, … to make a donation, sponsor an event or host a fundraising initiative.
Contact Have-A-Heart anytime for more ideas!