Society for Animals in Distress assisting with the welfare of animals

The love and need of having an animal companion sometimes goes much further than the realisation that financial constraints can be a huge stumbling block. Often, pet owners in the communities don’t realise what their responsibilities towards their pets are, or they simply don’t know how to take proper care of their animals.


Education is key

This is where the Society for Animals in Distress (SAID), situated in Vorna Valley, Midrand, comes in. They are more than just a shelter that houses abandoned pets. This animal welfare organisation is a beacon of hope for compromised animals in indigent communities amid the challenges of economic strain and social disparity.

Their heartfelt mission is to bring veterinary care and education to the people who need it most, with mobile units that are staffed with professionals. For SAID, it’s not just about veterinary care, it’s also about playing an educational role to the communities.

“Education is the cornerstone of SAID’s approach. Recognising that poverty’s impact reaches far beyond economic constraints, we strive to empower communities through knowledge and support. It’s a bid to create a ripple effect of awareness and responsible animal ownership and prevent animal cruelty and suffering,” says Meg Harvey, Chief Executive Director at SAID.


Veterinary services

SAID’s own hospital is registered with the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) as a mixed animal hospital. This means that the hospital can stabilise and treat all animals. They work on an alimony system, which plays a crucial role, especially in the underprivileged areas. The hospital and equine clinic are accessible to all and provide comprehensive care for the animals they treat. The SAID farm is also home to a number of equine and other farm animals who were either surrendered or rescued from compromised backgrounds.

To ensure that the organisation can help the communities where possible, they have mobile units, which target indigent communities such as Tembisa, Olievenhoutbosch, Winnie Mandela, Ebony Park, Ivory Park and Alexandra. They go wherever there are animals who need their assistance, and they have gone as far as the North West Province.

“Our mobile clinics are dedicated to delivering primary veterinary care to animals in disadvantaged communities, recognising the financial challenges faced by individuals who may struggle to meet their own essential needs, let alone afford the ‘luxury’ of veterinary attention for their animals,” says Meg.

The mobile units also actively engage with communities and help them with animals in need – the sick or injured. These units will collect the animals and transport them to the clinic for the necessary treatment. When the animals have recovered, the animals are returned to their owner with educational information on how to properly take care of the animal.

“Our comprehensive services encompass basic procedures such as sterilisations, vaccinations, microchipping and deworming, as well as more intricate interventions like surgeries and intensive treatments for illnesses and diseases. Often, these services are provided at significantly subsidised rates or even free of charge, contingent on the financial circumstances of the individuals involved. Furthermore, our mobile team actively imparts knowledge on animal welfare and responsible pet ownership during community visits,” says Meg.

Would you like to read the rest of this interesting article? Get the March/April 2024 edition of Animaltalk magazine from retailers or order a digital or printed version from



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