Cyclists raise funds for animals

LIZAHN WENTZEL

A group of cyclists from the northern suburbs rode their mountain bikes from Oudtshoorn to Durbanville, to raise funds for the Fisantekraal Animal Welfare (FAW).

The cyclists took to the road on Saturday May 21 and raised R35 000 in the FAW Cycle Challenge, which will go towards a mass sterilisation campaign.

“It is our 10-year anniversary this year and we wanted to do something different to celebrate, while raising awareness and funds,” said FAW marketer, Jennie Davies.

The cyclists rode 480km through the night in just under 30 hours and ended their journey at the Meerendal Wine Estate on Sunday May 22.

FAW volunteer Belinda van Tonder and her husband Neil, came up with the idea of a cycle race or challenge of some kind.

“Ms Van Tonder has been a volunteer for just over two years, working in the township with us. Her daughter, Mia, is also a volunteer. Naturally, the whole family is involved in some way now, they’ve even adopted two dogs from Fisantekraal,” explained Ms Davies.

Mr Van Tonder is also an animal lover and was inspired by an experience he had during a long-distance ride near Oudtshoorn. He and a friend were cycling in the Cape Pioneer, when they came across a very neglected Border collie, lost in the middle of nowhere. They took GPS coordinates and contacted Border Collie Rescue and he was rescued.

“And that’s why they decided on Oudtshoorn as a place to go from – almost ‘retracing’ his steps,” said Ms Davies.

The cyclists aimed to bring in money by getting people to sponsor their ride for the FAW Cycle Challenge. All the riders paid their own way and the funds raised went to FAW.

“This was the first time it was done, but we’re hoping to do it again next year,” said Ms Davies.

Initially, the aim was to get 20 riders to each “represent” R1 000 each, raising R20 000 for FAW.

“However, as it turned out, we had 13 riders and four support drivers. Before the ride, we were already on almost R22 000, and once everyone had completed it, those who had pledged to donate on completion, brought that total up,” said Ms Davies.

The support vehicles were sponsored by Land Rover N1 City, the radio communications sponsored by Radio 2 Radio, a 10-berth cycle trailer was supplied by Day Trippers Outdoor Bicycle Tour Company, and all vehicle branding was designed and sponsored by Pointline.

“We basically did not have to spend any of our funds and thus everything raised will be able to go entirely towards helping the animals,” said Ms Davies.

The funds will be used for a mass sterilisation campaign in Fisantekraal later this year. The amount per sterilisation covers drugs, equipment and anaesthetic.

Ms Davies said the best way to combat animal neglect and abuse is to reduce the massive overpopulation and non-stop breeding of companion animals.

“One female dog, her mate, and their offspring, having two litters a year, with 2.8 surviving puppies a litter equals 12 dogs in a year and 11 801 dogs in five years. And, since many of the mixed breeds have up to 12 pups a litter (the other day we had a dog which had 15 puppies), you can imagine why there is such a huge problem. With cats, they can have up to three litters a year and go on heat from four months of age,” Ms Davies explained.

FAW is an animal welfare organisation helping the animals of Fisantekraal, Morning Star, and surrounding farms.

Its main focus is dog and cat sterilisations (spay/neuter), educating animal owners, and providing primary health care for the animals within their working area. FAW is entirely self-funded and receives no assistance from the government; all “staff” are unpaid volunteers working in their spare time, and every cent raised through donations is used to assist the animals.

FAW works out of shipping containers in Fisantekraal on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 9am to noon. Volunteers also assist throughout the week on an ad hoc basis where needed.

FAW does not have an animal shelter, and all animals under their care are awaiting homes or undergoing treatment or board at nearby Uitsig Animal Rescue Centre or in private foster homes if available.