Of the estimated 20 000 dogs that pass through the doors of the six main animal shelters in the Western Cape each year, as few as 2000 are fortunate enough to be rehomed.
With such staggeringly low adoption rates, thousands of perfectly fit and healthy dogs of all ages are euthanised each month.
Joanne Lefson, animal activist and director of Oscars Arc — an NPO born to inspire dog adoption and to save dogs’ lives — believes that this dismal adoption rate is largely due to a general misconception and lack of exposure when it comes to shelter dogs.
“Some people think that adopting a dog from a shelter means taking a chance with an animal whose past is unknown and who could have behavioural issues, but this couldn’t be further from the truth — something that any adoptive parent will attest to. However, shelters can be overwhelming and are often situated quite far away from city centres, which means many people have very little exposure to shelter dogs.”
In order to flip this perception, Lefson is bringing the shelter to the people and so far, the response has been incredible. “Through WOOF Project, a dynamic ‘pop-up’ mobile dog adoption initiative, we’ve managed to give these beautiful, loving animals a chance to meet people who may otherwise have never considered adopting a shelter dog and, by doing so, we are continually accelerating adoption rates and saving the lives of dogs in Western Cape shelters.”
Averaging on roughly 12 adoptions per weekend, WOOF Project has already successfully taken close to 200 dogs off death row since its inception in March 2017, and aims to increase the dog adoption rates within the Western Cape by a whopping 50% by 2018.
The adoption process is both positive and efficient, says Lefson. “Those interested in adopting a dog complete a brief application, and after a home check the chosen dog is ready to be rehomed. For a flexible Name Your Price Adoption Fee the dog is microchipped, vaccinated and sterilised and comes with a guarantee that the adoption is a ‘perfect match’, for life.”
Having already frequented various high traffic locations including the Sea Point Promenade, Camps Bay strip and the V&A Waterfront, WOOF Project’s next location is the Root 44 Market in Stellenbosch. Partnering with a number of quality shelters across the region, Lefson has big plans for the project and the impact that it can achieve.
At the time of going to print, WOOF Project had held its first Root 44 Market adoption weekend. Nineteen dogs found new homes.