An animal rights group in Zimbabwe says it has had to euthanise more than 630 animals so far this year as a growing economic crisis pushes more and more unwanted pets onto the streets.
The Harare SPCA says that without urgent financial help, it won’t be able to carry on its work of caring for sick, abandoned and injured animals.
“The continuing downward spiral of the economy has exacerbated the situation and we are inundated with an alarming increase in the numbers of unwanted animals and cases of neglect and cruelty,” the SPCA said in a statement.
There is a limit to how many strays the group can accommodate, and hundreds have had to be euthanized.
“The statistics for January to the end of March show that 631 animals have had to be humanely put to sleep at the Harare SPCA,” it said, adding that the toll imposes an “enormous” financial and emotional burden on workers and administrators at the facility.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of worsening cash shortages. As hardships mount, there’s a knock-on effect on domesticated animals, with growing numbers of feral or abandoned dogs wandering the streets.
The Harare SPCA said the plight of domestic animals is being worsened by backyard breeding and the illegal importation of pure breeds, seen as a status symbol. This means fewer dogs are adopted from the charity’s shelters, and more are dumped.
“The number of unwanted animals in Zimbabwe… has reached epidemic proportions and we as a community must bear the responsibility of trying to stem this tide,” the group said.