Animal rescue underway in fire ravaged Garden Route

11:03 (GMT+2) Thu, 08 Jun 2017

Animal welfare organisations have stepped in to assist animals affected by the devastating fires that have swept through the Garden Route.

Thousands of people were evacuated overnight as raging fires continue to cause devastation at Knysna and Plettenberg Bay as well as other areas along the Garden Route.

While most of the attention has been on evacuating humans, some organisations are turning their attention to the animals who have been impacted by the fires.

The spokesperson for Animal Anti-Cruelty League in Nelson Mandela Bay, Linda Louise Swain, said they would be driving from Uitenhage to Rheenendal at Knysna to assess the situation and provide a helping hand where needed.

Louise-Swain said the aim is to rescue as many animals as possible and distribute food and water to people as well.

She added that a foster home for any displace animals has been set up at Segfield and a "safe field" has been provided for bigger animals from the Rheenendal livestock.

She said they are desperately in need of foster homes for animals.

Louise-Swain urged that people also donate food and water at Tavcor Motors in William Moffett Expressway in Port Elizabeth as there is "a very big need for water because Knysna was one of the worst hit by the drought and still no rain has fallen there."

Meanwhile, Disaster Teams have been dispatched by the National Council of SPCA's from Alberton, Gauteng, to also assist.

National spokesperson, senior inspector Jaco Pieterse, said that "many animals have been left displaced and some severely injured and requiring the intervention of the NSPCA Disaster Teams. The aftermath of such devastating fires leaves a trail of destruction."

"Displaced animals need food and water. Severely injured animals need assistance. Animals suffering from burns require veterinary assistance and may need to be humanely euthanased to end their suffering if this is extreme and there is no hope of survival," Pieterse said in a statement Thursday.

Pieterse gave a special thanks to the George and Mossel Bay SPCA staff who have been assisting animals that were in danger since Wednesday afternoon, but he said "unfortunately these SPCAs have been prohibited from entering certain areas to rescue animals as a result of the fires being out of control."

He said that the two SPCA branches had accepted over 60 animals from the Knysna Animal Welfare Society, "in order to make space available for other animals that will be admitted from surrounding communities.

Pieterse urged people to report any displaced or injured animals to the Garden Route SPCA on 044-878-1990 / 1993 or to the National Council of SPCAs on 011-907-3590 giving as much information as possible.