General Contact – Anne : 082 362 1444 | Welfare Contact – Del : 072 693 4646 | email@example.com
It all started with a tin bath outside the drankwinkel!
Read the fascinating history of animal welfare in McGregor on our timeline below.
It all started with a tin bath outside the drankwinkel (bottle store)! On 12th March 2018 Friends of CARE was awarded NPO (Non Profit Organisation) status and our little animal welfare charity took off. This was also the year that we started doing pet sterilisations from our own veterinary facility on a farm just outside McGregor; fully inspected and sanctioned by the South African Veterinary Council.
When the local vets can give us their time for free, which they do on a regular basis, we collect animals due for sterilisation from the local community. Once the operation is finished and the animal has recovered it is returned to its owner. We always ask owners to contribute what they can afford towards the cost of the anaesthetics and drugs used in their pet’s treatment. We started our sterilisation days doing twenty to thirty animals in one session. This changed because of Covid regulations and we now operate on a smaller basis, aiming to do around 10–14 animals at one time. This normally happens on a Sunday morning when the vets are free to give their time. We aim to sterilise around 100–200 cats and dogs a year, so reducing unwanted puppies and kittens – and the neglect and cruelty that often follows.
We fundraise throughout the year to cover our costs and have been fortunate to have received some Lotto funding for equipment and educational tools. We have also received generous funding from our local rotary group which allowed us to buy specialised veterinary equipment and solar lighting for our veterinary facility.
Our own fundraising activities have included our popular Bingo nights and market stalls at various events selling second hand books and baked goods. We were also given the opportunity to team up with local wine estate Sempurna in October 2021, to run a sponsored Swimathon which raised us a staggering R33,000.
This event ran again in 2022 and raised an even more awesome R41,100! In addition, we raised R14,500 from a raffle for prizes donated as part of the first McGregor Whisky Weekend.
The rest of our funding comes from generous benefactors in the local community and a small annual grant from Langeberg Municipality.
We are also very grateful to our monthly donors who help us on a regular basis by topping up our funds each month.
Syd Dickson, the bottle store owner, and Diane Herr noticed more and more animals, especially dogs, in need of care and attention. It was decided something needed to be done. A small group of McGregor residents decided to establish our own animal welfare. We set up a sub-branch of the Worcester SPCA in order to operate and proudly became the McGregor SPCA.
Tony and Sybil Casagrande, Colin Burton, Syd, Diane and Marlen were the regular helpers at weekly clinics. Marlene Mouton from the McGregor Butcher gave bags of liver sausage on Tuesdays for administering worm pills easily. Diane administered the vaccinations and Sybil spent many hours trimming matted dogs and clipping their nails. Everyone who donated their time played a valuable role in keeping the clinic functioning. We ran sterilisation drives every few months, which took place in the storeroom of the bottle store.
Marlen delivered a stainless steel table that served as the operating table and we used sandbags to secure the animals on the table. Leslie, our vet friend, donated her time to perform the surgeries. This was always a source of amusement as she was quite short and needed to stand on a beer crate to stand over the animal. For fundraising activities, we did a McGregor SPCA breakfast on an olive farm under the oak trees generously offered by Keith and Billy, collected bric-a-brac to sell, and sold jams and quiches.
The McGregor community was very generous in our fundraising efforts and we always managed to keep a positive balance, so we could continue our services! This excellent work continued until the SPCA decided to amalgamate all their activities in the five towns of our municipality under one banner. Our wendyhouse and equipment were duly taken over and we hoped for expanded support for McGregor animals.
However, this did not happen, and our geographic distance from the centre in Ashton complicated matters. Pat Werdmuller v. Elgg, who had bought a farm just outside the village and who had run the SPCA in Prince Albert, was concerned that these pioneering efforts should be maintained. So in October 2003 she and Marilyn Poole formed Friends of CARE (Care for Animal Rights and Environment) to give structure to local animal welfare.
Her successive farm managers were required to devote farm time to needy animals under the banner of Werdmuller Animal Welfare, funded by herself, the proceeds of a village calendar produced by Marilyn and book sales by Marlen. Activities were increased when she employed Del Jones, a registered AWA, as farm manager and all calls for help were responded to, 24/7.
After Del left the farm, a clinic was set up on Del’s own property outside the village. The value of Friends of CARE has been recognised by more and more local people who donate equipment, continually improve the premises, help with the regular spay days (performed by vets on a voluntary basis) and make welfare inspection visits to the local township.
On 12th March 2018 Friends of Care was awarded NPO (Non Profit Organisation) status and our animal welfare charity took off. This was also the year that we started doing pet sterilisations from our own veterinary facility on a farm just outside McGregor.
A very active and caring committee also organise regular fund-raising events. Pat Werdmuller v. Elgg continues to give important financial support to CARE on a monthly basis, and incidents of mange, distemper, starvation and ill-treatment are becoming more and more rare.
Saw the country go into lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Our work continued as Del had an Essential Workers pass so was able to provide emergency care when necessary. Friends of CARE also assisted with the feeding of animal and people during these tough times.
We are operating normally again although have reduced the size of our sterilisation days to comply with Covid regulations.
Since emigrating from Wales to South Africa in 1985, Del has dedicated her life to animal welfare. Her early days included mobile clinics in Alexandra, Soweto and Eldorado Park, leading to a qualification as an Animal Welfare Assistant and Inspector in 1995, followed by Senior Inspector in 1999. Working for a national welfare organisation exposed her to several diverse industries; including export, intensive farming systems, game capture, domestics and legislation. In later years she concentrated on managing the national livestock unit involving religious and conventional slaughter. Del currently enjoys working in a smaller, more manageable community where she willingly shares her experience, wisdom and laughter with her fellow workers.
Ilana has been assisting Del in McGregor for the last four years. She helps on most sterilisation days, farm visits and animal welfare checks within the local community. Friends of CARE recently funded her to go on a two day educational course in Cape Town.
We are grateful to our many volunteers who assist us with our work: we couldn’t do it without them. Here are a few photos of our recent spay days and our volunteers in action.
Our volunteers don’t only help not only with the animals. There are those who prefer to assist by feeding the volunteers and vet teams on our spay days or helping out at fundraising events, or assisting us in many other different ways.
We are grateful to you all for the help you give.
If you would like to help, contact Marlen by clicking here.
You can also visit Marlen in her shop, Voortrekker Street, McGregor. She runs our voulnteers list or ring: 079 0861558
Chair: Hazel Robertson
Treasurer: Pam Verrall
Secretary: Anne Binos
Marlen van Wyk, Del Jones, Robin Yule