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JULY 2011

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Now, was it my burst home geyser that started all the problems from mid June, I wonder?  Because it has been a ‘comedy of terrors’ since round about then. 

 

Starting with the telephone lines.  The Unit shares their telephone underground lines with the Animal Welfare Society.  Well they did, that is, until the copper cabling was removed, which very effectively cut us all off from the outside world.   While every effort was made through various Facebook sites to alert everyone to alternative cell phone numbers for both AWS and ourselves, there were a number of unpleasant phone calls about the fact that AWS was not answering their landlines. Clearly an unhappy situation especially when somebody is trying to find their lost/stray animal and is desperate to ascertain if the animal has been brought in to the AWS Shelter.   Telkom has managed now for the third or fourth time to reinstall the cabling and so for the past 7 days we have all, including the factories over the road, had landlines again, but one wonders for just how long?  We apologise to anyone who was unable to contact us on landline, but it was very definitely quite unavoidable.   The Unit had to contact people during this month and this has unfortunately meant that our cell phone has needed topping up far more often than normal!!   But it also means that our Telkom account is lower than normal.   What is that saying?   What you win on the swings, you lose on the roundabouts?

 

Both knife slashed donkeys, having recovered from their wounds were returned to their owner.

 

And then down came the rain again – but it was nice to lie in bed in the early hours of the morning, and know that the water was being channeled away from the animals and although the ground was like porridge, there would not be dams in the camps come morning!

 

A request for assistance from a landowner for help with his one lame donkey was responded to and the necessary education given.  Getting the youngster haltered was something else altogether though!!  It took four of us to get it right.

 

And then the Unit cell phone decided to give up!  It has subsequently been replaced with a new handset, free of charge being under warranty, but the struggle of working was exacerbated by the fact that ALL the contact numbers were still in the phone and now in the workshop for two weeks!   Luckily, I have a spare phone and so although we could be contacted, getting numbers for required work was exceedingly difficult!

 

We then received a panic call from one of our Carters to say that somebody had taken his cart and donkeys overnight and he wanted us to know in case they were used to do criminal activities. 
We advised the SAPS Sector Manager for the area immediately.

 

An old friend phoned because she was concerned that there was a ewe and lamb playing in the traffic on the New Seaview Road.  Many people had tried to do something about it, to no avail.  In desperation, she again contacted us and we decided to lend a hand.  (What would you think of us if we did not respond in an emergency situation, to ANY animal?)  To cut a long, wet story, short, we descended on the scene and with some help from a neighbouring farmer’s staff, managed to catch both ewe and lamb and load it onto the bakkie.  Which is when the shepherd arrived looking for his sheep, and promptly started going off that we were stock thieves and were about to be reported to the SAPS!!!  You had to laugh!   All’s well that ends well, with the ewe and lamb delivered safely to the shepherds house, to warmth and dryness and the shepherd who most grateful!!

 

You might remember, that during June we had been sent off on an early evening wild goose chase in Lusaka, looking for a donkey with a bleeding eye.  We never did find it - but it did find us!  The owner had been doing his best to sort the problem out, including shaving the wound and keeping it clean, but it was just not healing.  He called and in due course the yearling was brought in with a bad wound to just in front of the eye and including the eyelid.   We have been able to clean it up and get it healed and so he should be going home shortly.  Regular concerned phone calls about how his donkey was doing were received on a regular basis.  (Poster of eye on Facebook page East Cape Horse Care Unit.)

 

One of our horse Carters decided, in his infinite wisdom, to use his one cart horse that had begun developing slipper foot and that the farrier and the Unit had been working on for a couple of months.  This of course got him into trouble with the SPCA inspectorate!  When all was said and done and after consultations with veterinarians, Kolbooi was released to us which is a far better solution than trying to work at a distance as we had been on the understanding that the horse was NOT to be used.  Kolbooi will be staying with us until such time as remedial work has been completed.

 

Phonecalls, sms’s and radio alerts were received early one morning to say that there were 12 donkeys on Lake Farm Road interfering with the morning traffic.  Stanley and Alfred were dispatched to the scene and it was found that the heavy rains had upset the fence which had allowed the non working donkeys to escape.  They were all shepherded off the road behind a fence and gate and it is assumed the owner claimed his animals in due course.

 

Francois, the recipient of our bags of manure to make compost, contacted us again for a mangey dog on his premises and so AWS was requested to collect the animal.

 

Our one Sand Saviour, Jan Beyers, he with the truck and tlb, started the ball rolling by delivering a load of soil/sand to us.   This was followed by an offer of sand from Victory Race Way next door.   We have had umpteen deliveries of sand and they continue to arrive, which means that until Jan can return with his tlb, Alfred has taken to moving it by wheelbarrow and it is already making a big difference to the camps.  Yes, it does look a little untidy, but in due course, it is going to be great – just as long as the channels are kept open!  And with donations of pavers from Johan, we hope to be able to put the JoJo tank up soon!

 

And then the handbrake on the bakkie had its hissy fit!   Repaired!

 

Two jennies with their now safely born and raised foals were returned to their owners.  We miss the little ones!

 

On the Grahamstown Clinic, we were joined by Andrea, a nurse who wanted to ‘help’.  Well, she was a great help, especially as the Town was inundated by tourists for the Festival.   So, because some Carters were unable to come to our normal ‘spot’, we went hunting for them.  Some were at the Festival to try and earn a few bucks, but some were out collecting fire wood for sale as with the rain and cold, firewood was in great demand by township dwellers.

 

Two stray donkeys that were never claimed despite trying to find the owner, were adopted out to a game farm.  But that was only after the ear problem of the jenny had been fixed!   Flip and Flop (because of her ear) have settled in well and we are sure they will be happy and safe and we hear that Flip has already become a lot tamer.

 

After months of preparation, we, all the animal welfare organizations, welcomed the SANDF and US Marines and their Shared Accord project to the Uitenhage and northern PE townships.  SPCA Uitenhage and the NMMM Animal Control Division were Project Facilitators and we were all requested to assist with volunteers to handle dogs, cats and equines.  There was much excitement all around, especially as spaying, neutering and geldings were on the cards.   Our Stanley spent the day in the Uitenhage townships rustling up owners who wanted their donkeys or horses gelded so we were able to bring in 1 horse and 4 donkeys for gelding.

 

Unfortunately, our bakkie got a serious sickness and was off the road for two weeks, right at the time we needed her most!   But thanks to Rose Connell of NMMM Animal Control, Happy was delegated to assist with a municipal truck and cattle trailer to get the equines where they needed to be.   Thank you, Happy!

 

The Veterinarians were inundated with dogs, a few cats, and spent the days spaying, with their owners nearby to help bring their animals around post op.   Refreshments were provided and were much needed, especially the coffee. 

 

We all learn something every day and so when Corpsman Kukreja (US Marine human Medic for the Project but animal behavourist at heart) showed us a neat trick to get a donkey’s artery to stand up for I/V sedation we were very happy.   (Donkey neck arteries are extremely difficult to ‘get at’ and are well protected by muscle.)  In fact Kukreja, just by ‘communicating’ with the donkeys had them almost asleep on their feet prior to sedation and then lent a hand with holding legs so that the vets were well protected and instructing other Marines how to belay and loosen legs when the op was complete.   It was so nice to meet him and learn something into the bargain – Thank you Dave! Our thanks also to Dr Snyman for taking on the geldings, Insp Koos, SPCA Uitenhage and Rose Connell, NMMM Animal Control, for their logisticals!  A job well done all round!

 

A frantic call from SPCA Humansdorp to collect a donkey that had been ‘attacked with a kapmes’ led to Stanley and Liezl haring off.  On the way there, our valued and very hard working bakkie decided so far and no further.  Leaving everyone with a bit of a problem.  However, Liezl was able to commandeer a friend with a tow vehicle to come out and collect the horsebox, then collect the donkey and get it back for veterinary attention.  They were obviously concerned at the possible state of the jenny, but were able to assess that she had in fact been attacked by dogs, shredding her ears and a bite wound on her neck and butt!  The bakkie spent the weekend in JBay before being brought in on Monday, just in time for my return from a trip to Cape Town when we were able to make decisions about repairing the bakkie.  Our thanks to Laura for stepping in so gallantly to ‘do the business’ of transporting the wounded animal and getting home very late on a Friday night.

 

She, the preggy jenny as we found out later, was very traumatized by her escapade, to the extent that her trust in anything on two legs leads to an attempt to bite, which is what Liezl found on shaving and cleaning her up when she received a bite to her waist that led to a large bruise!  Which was given on the same side as her wound from being kicked on an outride that led to stitches!   I am happy to report that Helen has foaled down this morning (30 7 11) and has been safely delivered of Troy!  All well!  (And Liezl is healing well too!)

 

Kelsey De Kock and her Best Friends celebrated her birthday at the Unit the same weekend and Kelsey’s friends were asked to bring something for the equines instead of a gift for her.   Well, the ‘gifts’ were incredible and listed at the end of this letter, and we thank Kelsey for sharing her day with us.

 

The Volunteers who came to spend their Mandela 67 minutes at Animal Welfare did not know what was in store for them either!   Jerry got them to move two of the larger ‘tunnels’ into our donkey camps and it was not long before they were in use!    Thank you to all 12 of you who had this onerous job – I am sure that Madiba would approve.

 

The same applies to Caleb whose mum brought him in for his 67 Mandela Minutes.  It was good to see him wrestling with the wheelbarrow to collect stones from the girls camp and remove them.  Caleb is only 4!!!

 

Aubrey and Pegleg came and collected their repaired donkeys and were reharnessed at the same time.

 

A Veterinarian called about a cow that had been killed was referred to the NMMM Animal Control and a goat in Kwanobuhle that had been ‘kapped’, reported by the SAPS to me in the middle of the night because SPCA was not answering their phones (because the US Marines are sorting out their office accommodation and Telkom is also trying to keep up with the pace there too) was also handed to the Cowboys.  Heavy stuff for midnight!  A further complaint received in the middle of the Spayathon of 17 cows on Strandfontein Road was also reported to NMMM Animal Control.

 

A complaint of 2 horses running loose on Old Cape Road was reported to us, but it was not until the 29 that the owner started asking questions.    I cannot say how urgent it is that fencing is always kept in good repair!

 

Having taken the bakkie back from her major ‘makeover’, we set off for a horse with a problem in a village down the coast, intending to do some other inspections on the way back.  We were able to sort out the problem horse, and inspect two other clients, including one of our adoptions before returning home to do another two investigations.  It was not meant to be, at all!!  There we were on the verge of the highway with no power, outside of Humansdorp.  All was not lost as we were able to contact two of our horse owners in Kruisfontein who hotfooted out to us to see if they could assist.   To both the Shauns – we thank you for your care and for coming to our rescue and just looking after us.   The poor bakkie spent the weekend, again, in JBay, and we found our own way home none the worse after our adventure.

 

We ended off Saturday 30th by adopting out our Irish Shoe and Carmen who, by all accounts, have settled down well already.  

 

The only problem is that apparently one of the wheel bearings on the horsebox is looking ropey but all four wheel bearings have been sorted by Dave.   Thank you so much, Dave!

DONATIONS – Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

 

Feed & Seed – 2 bags lucerne cubes

Ayesha – leftover dewormer from her horse’s deworming

Brenda - 3 10kg bags of carrots from their shop in Jacks Fruit n Veg in Kempston Road

Hannah and Kyla – 67 Mandela Minutes grooming

Tracey – Mandela 67 minutes grooming

Feed & Seed – 4 bales Lucerne and many bags sweepings (and empty bags too.)

Megan & Craig – 1 grass roll

Janice – a FRIDGE!!   (Ideal for keeping carrots fresh, not to mention vaccines)

Feed & Seed – packets of samples – all grist to our mill

Amy and Gavin - carrots

Sarah – 1 Himalayan Rock salt on a rope.

Sarah - 2 bales Lucerne specially delivered for Helen to ensure good feeding for Troy

Gina – 1 bag cubes

Brenda – box of pears and apples and 10kg carrots

Petra - Tack

Saskia – tack at Kelsey’s birthday party.

Kelsey - R200

Saskia - 4 bales Lucerne, 2 bags food, molasses, carrots and apples

 

Warm fuzzy

Sighting a vast herd of Sable antelope on a recent out of town inspection.

AWS Insp Hannes assisting with collection of a stabbed donkey and stray preggy sister in Walmer.

AWS Pieter taking our manure next door!

Receiving a beautiful picture of two of our adopted donkey jennies, Jane and Jenny, along with their yearling sons, Wilhelm and Frederick, now gelded from Brenda.

Receiving a Colorado Horse Rescue T Shirt and key ring from Ayesha as a personal gift. (Mmmm – more food for thought!)

 

Cold pricklies

Unexpected visitors - 3 Snakes!!   What?! Are your holes all filled with water?  Did nobody tell you we are in the middle of Winter and that you should be still hibernating?!

 

Banking Details:

Bank:  Standard Bank

Account Name: Racing Association, National Horse Trust

Account Number: 080563473

 

www.echcu.co.za

Facebook:  East Cape Horse Care Unit

Cellphone: 072 357 2505

Landline: (when it is working!) 3661 594

 

M

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