The Mutare SPCA is an animal protection charity, desperate to uphold the laws our society in terms
of animal cruelty and welfare. Based on the UK RSPCA model, but modified for local Central African
conditions, we were established at its current headquarters in the mid 1900's, when fundraising was
easier, and Zimbabwe had a well functioning economy and higher employment statistics. The SPCA
in Mutare actually began in the 1930’s but we do not have any written details about this.
Today, it would be almost unethical for us to request or expect any donations from the majority of
the Zimbabwean population, when they can hardly afford more than a single meal per day per
family. The extreme wealth accessed by the political elite does not percolate down, not even to
government establishments like hospitals. We are currently a nation in crisis, and in such a crisis,
animal welfare can become a casualty at the same time as its very incidence is exponentially on the
The prevailing situation sadly does not allow for healthy animal husbandry as perhaps many first
world citizens might reasonably expect, but that doesn’t mean that we should fold up the fine work
that has been done historically and that we are desperately trying to continue. The man on the
street relies on us. Many people will tell us when we are in the field about the SPCA. I was recently
out rescuing a tiny mongrel puppy from a hectically busy road, as it was looking for insects that had
been squashed on the asphalt, when two men came to tell me to call the SPCA to help me out. S its
important to say that this is still a very special country, full of courageous and hardworking people,
who smile readily, at the best of times, at the worst of times. And no matter how poor, they do want
animals in their lives... even if perhaps the reasons are often different from our own. Some of us are
‘pet lovers’ in the traditional sense, whilst most Zimbabweans are very practical about ‘owning’
animals. They must serve a function, be it a source of food, transport (donkeys and oxen), security or
hunting wildlife. These animals are not ‘pets’ and often live on the very fringe. We know that some
of us differ hugely in this way, and it is something that we talk about together, both sides not really
comprehending the modus operandi of the other, even finding it strange to ‘pet’ animals or
alternatively cruel to work them to extremes, be dependent on their work and yet not care for them.
Our role is critical in changing perceptions. Life is hard.
AT present our town is almost overwhelmed with dogs and cats, some feral, some roaming in search
of food not provided at home, and we at the SPCA could be doing so much to help if we had the
Right now its a constant struggle to cover our basic monthly expenses, (salaries, pet food, medicines
and vet bills, utilities, and maintenance costs). We are desperate for one more permanent staff
member who could man the office, handle day to day issues, fundraising, educational outreach etc,
etc...the list is long.
Our volunteers, a small band of 8 people, endeavour to cover these bases, but it is far from ideal. It
means no one person is singularly responsible for admin, fundraising and communications and
helping the permanent staff with their daily problems. The SPCA paid staff consists of three good
men, who work full time and tirelessly at our overflowing kennels. Mr Noel Usore, our Inspector, has
been with us over 40 years, and would like to retire, but we can’t afford to pay his retirement
package. We would be lost without this strong stalwart, who is the perfect representative for us. The
other two men have no formal qualifications that would allow them to fill Mr Usore's Inspector’s
shoes. His years of experience are invaluable. We need to train as inspector another man who has
the appropriate social standing and background to do this difficult job. Apart from the education
project, a real ambition of ours would be to do regular neutering and basic treatment programs for
the people living in our high density areas. We have a neat little clinic on our premises, and we could
be neutering dogs and cats brought to us and nurse them for a few hours safely post-operatively
before releasing them.
Our volunteers mostly work fulltime themselves to survive in Zimbabwe’s harsh economic climate,
and whilst we commit time when we can and energy and enthusiasm, we simply do not have the
resources to donate funds to sustain our SPCA. Much of our time and effort is spent simply fund
raising and whilst we have a wonderful community who are 100% behind us, we are now very
vulnerable to donor fatigue from our ever shrinking section of able and willing contributors.
FROM A JACK TO A KING,
Helping Petal Pig and her siblings to survive cruel abuse. She was treated at
the SPCA and then finally retired to a small hotel where she could meet children. Her siblings were
not as lucky.