Minutes of the SPCA AGM, 21 February 2017
Present Committee: Lynne James (Chair), Kirsten Valentine (Secretary), Marilyn Baxter (Treasurer), Tracy Perhat, Bryony Fourie, Janette Douglas, Keara Whitfield, Jane Bottger, Jane Clegg.
Staff: Noel Usore (Inspector)
ZNSPCA: Glynis Vaughan (Chief Insp), Camilla Crook (Isp. Trainee), Simba Karumbidza (Insp. Trainee)
Members of the public: Gerald Boka, Jeremy Masson, Tara Johnson, Jill Rickard, Phil Valentine, Fiona Eatwell, Iqbal Joosab-Ali, George Bottger.
Apologies: Jill Wylie
KV welcomed everyone with special mention of the three representatives from ZNSPCA.
Matters arising from last set of AGM Minutes
Page 2 ‘Mutare City By-laws’ KV wanted to know from GV if there had been any progress made on the City By-laws. At present, in Mutare, the only rule we have to go on is that you are not allowed more than two dogs per property. Breeding licences don’t exist. GV : most towns are now changing their by-laws relating to dogs. Kadoma has the best by-laws in the country and the aim is to get these used in every town/city. Current mission is to implement a scheme whereby every dog is micro-chipped, vaccinated and licensed in one exercise. This task will be privatised and SPCA’s around the country will get chips via ZNSPCA and raise funds selling them. LJ : asked for a copy of the Kadoma town by laws. GV to forward.
Page 2 – 3 KV wanted to know if GV had made any progress with recommending to the Minister that only elephants in captivity are exported following the traumatic capture and exportation of wild elephants in 2016. GV : 37 sub-adult elephants were captured in late 2016 and shipped to China in Dec 2016. Hyena were also captured at the same time. 1 elephant died of a bacterial infection. GV confirmed that the cruelty starts at the capture technique. To date no facility in China has been approved by ZNSPCA. These elephants are currently being held in a quarantine facility in Shanghai and cannot be moved until conditions are improved at their designated destination. A document is now in place that states that no capture will take place in Zimbabwe without approved facilities being available on the China side. No training of these elephants is allowed. All Zimbabwe elephants remain the property of Zimbabwe and any breach of contract could see the elephants removed, though practically this is not easily done or policed.
There is work being done to try and ensure in future that only captive elephants may be exported, however the political angle to all of this is all but impossible to control.
Page 4 AOB point 1. KV wondered if the introduction of Animal Welfare as a subject had been successful. GV : This program is not yet implemented and awaits funding as the Min of Education have stipulated that even though this is now a recognised part of the curriculum its implementation is to be funded by SPCA.
Chair’s report LJ started off with acknowledging Jill Wylie (our Honorary Chair)’s absence. She has played a huge role in the SPCA over the years. LJ offered a special welcome to ZNSPCA and to Noel Usore who has been with the Mutare SPCA since 1971. She also welcomed everyone and invited those who were not on the committee to come on board. LJ went on to describe that we receive many calls for help, to which it is logistically impossible to respond due to our lack of resources. Just today she received a call from Nyanga re their stray dog issue. We have also received phone calls from Chiadzwa, Murambinda and Buhera ref their ever growing cat populations (80+ in some cases), and she has taken repeated phone calls from Rusape Town Council about their stray dog situation. LJ also mentioned that we are involved in taking care of a cattle cruelty case in Nyazura, and are now the care takers of a herd of 36 head some 50 km away. We are also receiving ever increasing numbers of stray, surrendered and abandoned animals and LJ was indeed concerned about how people are even affording to feed and get vet care for their pets. She mentioned that we advise people that, unless a dog is looking in bad condition and stressed, they should leave the dog be, otherwise it will more than likely end up being put to sleep. Mutare City Council no longer trap stray dogs due to transport issues and they are no longer paying us anything. In the past, they would pay a nominal amount for the first week a stray dog was kept at our facility. In summary, the community’s needs keep getting greater and our resources dwindle daily. Our donor base has eroded due to people leaving and tough financial times for everyone. We need about $2500 per month to stay afloat and this covers the bare basics including wages. This past year we received the most wonderful bequest from Ms Pat Wilde, without out which we would have closed our doors for sure. For this we thank Pat hugely. Jane and Bill Clegg have submitted a funding proposal to Global Living. However, our constitution needs to be changed in order for the proposal to be accepted. (See further in the minutes under AOB). Also, we need a Paypal account which is proving difficult. Volunteering is a full time job and one is often left feeling short of the mark. Essential stuff doesn’t get done. Even if we did get a windfall, our team is really small and most of us work full time, so there isn’t the manpower to take on certain jobs. LJ acknowledged that ZNSPCA has taken on paying the salary of our inspector which is a help. LJ compared our situation to fuel starved aircraft in a holding pattern - hanging in, but desperately needing to touch down before we fall out of the sky! Our task would be made so much lighter if more people came on board. If one person could run with one task, it would just make things easier for those of us who are flat out. In terms of staff/ Committee movements, LJ mentioned that Simba Karumbidza is training to be an inspector and will be taking over from Noel Usore once he’s ready to retire. Bryony Fourie is leaving us soon and she has been the most amazing hands on member of the team – most days she goes in and visits every single cat. She will be missed terribly. Marilyn is stepping down after 6 years of being our treasurer and LJ thanked her for her years of service.
Financial Report MB said there has not been much improvement from last year and doesn’t foresee much of an improvement this year. Our reserves are low. However, MB believed that with such active fundraising done by the team, we just might be able to weather the storm. Details of our expenditure below: Income and Expenses 2015 12 months December 2016 14 months Donations 14146 8591 Fundraising 7104 9520 Friends 1622 2220 Membership 580 440 Kennel Income 3210 4845
TOTAL 26662 25616
Wages 18148 20782 Dog Food 2275 3100 Pig Food 750 - Vet 620 894 Tel 466 623 Petrol 1144 85 Cleaning 122 103 Dip 773 833 Repairs 366 523 PO Box rental 48 48 Licence/ Ins 166 103 Fundraising Expenses 125 283 Vehicle Repair 1535 -
TOTAL 26538 27377
Surplus : 12 months Dec 2016 124 -1761
Question raised by IJ-A: Are there any service charges on the bank account. MB confirmed there were none. There was a discussion about the difficulties getting funds in from overseas due to the Nostro accounts which are not in an individual’s/organisation’s name but rather in the Bank’s name e.g. ‘NMB’, so donors are put-off sending money as it seems dodgy. GV will speak to the ZN Financial Director for advice. There was also a suggestion to check with Stanbic Bank regarding their receiving overseas money. MB agreed to do this last task before she steps down. There was also a recommendation to be wary who we bank with – 6 banks in Zimbabwe are currently in ‘intensive care’. Inspector’s/ Kennel report
Dogs 2016 Cats 2016 Others Strays: 73 64 - 8 pigs from the show grounds Surrenders: 48 3 - 1 chicken - Municipality brought 3 pigs and 1 goat but the owner claimed them. Rehomed: 8 15 - 1 monkey was PTS due to attack by dogs. PTS (Put to Sleep): 146 40 Boarders: 50 16
Currently at the SPCA we have 16 dogs, 30 cats, 4 office dogs, 3 office cats, 1 office goat and 3 office chickens. No boarders in at the moment.
NU asked GV who will be issuing breeding licences under the new proposed by-laws. GV confirmed this responsibility will rest with SPCA – anyone who wishes to breed their dog will have to apply. The process will involve a home visit, and the dog will only be allowed to have two litters.
NU also asked about the lion attack at the Marondera Echo Animal Park. GV responded to say that CC went with another ZN inspector and found the protective barrier fence and the lions were in good condition. It appeared that the person who was attacked had either paid to get closer or had entered illegally. As it was a human error, the lion was not PTS.
Fundraising report JC reiterated that times are difficult and that we need to aim for at least one event a month. We need new ideas and new energy! We had 3 talks @ $5 per person entry. Those raised over $300. We had 3 raffles and 4 fetes. The last fete we raised $40 in 5 hours! However, it is good to let people know that we are prepared to get out there to spread the word about animal welfare! We regularly sell birdbaths ($5 profit per $20 b/bath) and cashews (double our money) and native plants ($1). JC mentioned that KW had done a magnificent job with the Carnival. Money was spent making all the games (about 10 that children can join in), but if we can try do it three times a year, it will be well worth it. Another one-off event was Christmas in July which raised over $1000 and the braai competition raised $735. All-in-all just over $6000 was raised by the committee.
ZNSPCA report GV described ZN’s role within the context of all the SPCAs. It was set up in 1969 as the ‘Mother Body’ and Mr Beau Howell was one of the founder members. There are currently nine societies in the country. GV stressed that we will be invited to attend the next AGM and that she will let us know when a date is set. The board is supposed to be made up of representatives from each member society. The main function of ZN is to be a policing body – for example, when GV first started, it was discovered that Kadoma SPCA was busy breeding and selling dogs! And at Masvingo SPCA, one of the people there was sterilizing animals even though they are not a vet. GV stressed that the inspectors are the most important people in the society, and her vision is to make sure that every inspector is fully equipped with stun gun, catch pole etc, so they are able to carry out their duties well. GV said that ZN was also there to provide back-up for the societies, eg hiring a lawyer on behalf of Mutare SPCA for the cattle cruelty case in Nyazura. Also to help keep the societies open, eg Kadoma nearly closed last week which was unacceptable. Currently ZN is funding Kadoma, Chegutu and Kwekwe SPCAs. ZN has just re-done all their information material and will be distributing printed matter to member societies for use. ZN also works with the government and ministers to change laws (eg the bylaws at the moment and wildlife export laws). Codes of Conduct for farming is in the pipeline. Marondera will soon have its own society which is extremely exciting. To put things in perspective, GV mentioned that at Harare SPCA, their monthly running costs are $25k. 35 – 40 animals are PTS every day. They have had to engage counselors for the veterinary staff due to the stresses involved. The only way to halt the population explosion of animals is with strong properly policed bylaws. Regarding the school education program, ZN will send out an appeal to get the subject of ‘animal welfare’ ready. ZN has been told by the Ministry of Education that they are to find their own funding to get the subject included. ZN will also be working closely with Childline in the future. The Link is a scientifically proven study which shows that where there is animal abuse, there is likely to be child abuse and vice versa. If an inspector finds a case where an animal is being abused, and if there are children in the household, they will alert Childline who can then do their own investigation. And vice versa.
Questions: LJ: The microchipping project will take time to earn any income and our finances are dire. Should they drop any further, we will let ZN know. GV said absolutely – it would be devastating to lose an SPCA.
GBoka suggested that the government should fund the teachers regarding the Animal Welfare subject. No other subject has to find its own funding, so if this subject has been approved, then it should be treated as a subject to be included with teacher training. Maybe get one rep from each province and they can teach the teachers. GV was grateful for this suggestion and will take it up with the Director.
IJ-A asked if there was any current affiliation with Childline. GV confirmed not yet.
LJ mentioned that a very strong letter was written in by the Namibia Government addressing the total lack of respect of Chinese towards the Namibian wildlife and culture. GV said that Zimbabwe’s Prevention of Cruelty Act is the best in Southern Africa and is absolutely watertight, though complicated by politics.
It was mentioned that the Donkeys issue (skinning) has come to Zimbabwe now and they are stealing the donkeys, not paying for them like they do in SA.
IQ-A asked about where ZN gets their funding. GV: All funding is local. Nothing currently received from international community. IQ-A asked if there were any lawyers on the ZN Board? GV confirmed there are not. IQ-A then suggested approaching some Human Rights lawyers for help with legal representation. If they are Human Rights lawyers, it’s not too much of a stretch for them to become Animal Rights Lawyers. Beatrice Mtetwa was mentioned as the best person to get in touch with regarding this.
GBoka asked regarding the new by-laws: would people be paying a certain fee to the City Council or to SPCA?
GV replied that licensing will be paid to the City Council. The Breeders license will be kept on a database controlled by the SPCA. GV also said that in Harare they will be hiring people and training them up to do micro-chipping and they will be paid on a commission basis. So, the more dogs that are micro-chipped, the more commission they will earn. This will link in with the database system and dog licensing. The system will be simple and each dog will be chipped with information according to the owner’s ID.
TP asked if this will interfere with the current micro-chipping system that is in place and GV thought it waslikely that dogs who have been microchipped might have to get done again to come in line with the new system.
Election of New Committee Members
Bryony Fourie resigned (moving to the UK) Marilyn Baxter resigned (heavy work commitments) Kirsten Valentine tried to resign as Inspector but was encouraged to stay on in a ‘non-active’ role. LJ proposed Jill Rickard and KV seconded. BF proposed Tara Johnson and her sister Justine – LJ seconded TP proposed Charmaine Odendaal for fundraising activities (everyone agreed) GBoka said he was available for co-opting onto a sub-committee.
Election of Trustees.
LJ noted that according to the Constitution, we need to elect Trustees. George Lock and Brian James were proposed and JC seconded. GBottger was proposed and seconded.
IQ-A said he’s happy to attend meetings if he’s free and he said to JC to include him in fundraising activities.
Any other business
1. Constitutional amendments: copies of proposed amendments (being only additions) to the Society’s constitution have been made available to all members. It was unanimously resolved that these be accepted. Proposed: LJ; Seconded: JC. A copy of the revised constitution is attached.
2. IQ-A asked if SPCA owned the property where we operate from and the answer is no. We currently have few assets.
3. GBottger gave some wonderful feedback and said of all the committees he’s been involved with, this is the hardest working one by far! Thanks George!
END OF MEETING 6.53pm