For the second time in just over a month an animal organisation has stepped out of its traditional role to help humans in need.
When members of the Animal Anti Cruelty League were called in to investigate what was thought to be a case of cat abuse, they were horrified to discover a mentally impaired hoarder, whose home was infested with cockroaches and filth.
Undeterred, the group stepped in, promptly getting to work cleaning – often dealing with the tickle of cockroaches crawling under their shirts.
Animal Anti-Cruelty League public relations officer Linda-Louise Swain said: “We discovered the woman’s living conditions when we were called by someone from NMMU about a possible cat problem.
“I called Karien van Schalkwyk, our field worker and prosecutor, and asked her if she could investigate,” she said.
Swain said Van Schalkwyk had gone to the home in Uitenhage with municipal dog control officer, Hein Whiteboy. The pair discovered that the cats were much-loved pets in good health but, Swain said, “the human side was just devastating.”
Inside the home were floors covered in years of ingrained grime. Those floors were stacked high with boxes, packets and years of collected knickknacks, cupboards full of rotting or mouldy clothes and a stench that set stomachs lurching.
Swain said Van Schalkyk had phoned her, saying: “Wow Linda-Louise this case is enormous.”
“She told me what they had come across when they were there. I got hold of the rest of the team and I asked them if they wouldn’t mind getting their hands dirty. Everyone was more than willing to come on board. ”
Swain explained that the 42-year-old woman had lost her husband last year and was living alone with just her two cats as companions.
“Things had just got beyond her, she had no control over most things and, as a result, the situation started to worsen over time,” Swain said. She said she believed part of the problem, and a major contributing factor, was the loneliness the woman was experiencing. “We have tried getting hold of the Uitenhage mental care department because at some point she was under their care, but they haven’t returned our calls.
“She still needs care and needs someone to monitor her in terms of her taking her medication and doing the day-to-day things which she struggles to do on her own.
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