Outcry as national Lotto cuts SPCA funding

Man's best friend: Without animal welfare organisations like the Lower South Coast SPCA, cruelty cases wouldn't be investigated. Remember the case in which a Margate man allegedly drowned a puppy in his kitchen sink? Richard Blose of the Lower SPCA holds the surviving siblings, which are looking for forever homes.

ANIMAL protection is not a priority for the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), it seems.

So, no more Lotto funding for SPCAs.

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The news has come as a shock to animal lovers and Lower South Coast SPCA manager, Michael Muller is livid.

He has now challenging the community to spend their ‘game money’ elsewhere until animal welfare is a priority again.

The NLC sent a letter to the NSPCA earlier this month, stating that ‘2016 charities open call for applications will focus on strategic focus areas that are aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP) as well as government priorities’.

Marcelle Meredith, the NSPCA’s executive director, said the exclusion of animal welfare organisations was short-sighted and inexcusable.

Lower South Coast SPCA manager, Michael Muller encourages everyone to spend their ‘game money’ elsewhere until animal welfare is a priority again.

“The manner of communicating this was blunt and unforeseen. Organisations, including ourselves, spent a great deal of time and effort in submitting detailed applications for essential projects with budgets, business plans and worthy goals that would benefit communities,” she said.

Mr Muller said he could only revert to Ghandi’s well known quote:

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Without animal welfare organisations like the Lower South Coast SPCA, cruelty cases wouldn’t be investigated. Remember the case in which a Margate man allegedly drowned a puppy in his kitchen sink? Richard Blose of the Lower SPCA holds the surviving siblings, which are looking for forever homes.

He said that it did seem that our nation’s greatness was ‘diminishing very, very quickly’ with the NLC’s statement about animal welfare organisations. “In the letter addressed to the NSPCA, the call for applications is based on the ‘National Development Plan’ as well as ‘government priorities’. We can only wonder what these priorities might be!”

Mr Muller said he used to play Lotto not only for the  chance to win, but also because he knew some of the funds generated were going to good causes.

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“Needless to say, I won’t be playing any more. Personally I will be taking the R20 or R30 a week I used to spend on a Lotto ticket and give it to my charity of choice, which, of course, is our SPCA,” he said.

“So here’s the challenge!” said Mr Muller.

He said that the LSC SPCA was fortunate that it had not relied on receiving any Lotto funding for a number of years.

This won’t affect our normal operations too negatively, unlike a large number of other SPCAs and animal welfare organisations – Michael Muller.

However, he said they were hoping to apply for some urgently-needed funding for renovations and a greater delivery of services to the rural areas.

“This, in plain terms, means that it will affect our planned rural projects negatively. Fortunately we had the initiative to register our own High 5 membership competition which is very similar to a lotto and this competition enables us to complete a small number of rural projects,” he said.

“Although the prize money may be less, the odds are a lot better,” he added.

Ms Meredith said that the NSPCA emphasised that there is no competition or conflict between helping people and helping animals.

“Uplifting the welfare of animals helps communities. Take the current nationwide scandal of donkeys being stolen to be slaughtered for their skins. This dreadful crime affects the poorest and usually most rural communities who are being deprived of their only means of transportation.”

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  AUTHOR
Shona Aylward
Reporter

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