250 animals in need of help after Midrand animal shelter ravaged by fire
“The thought of my dogs burning haunts me‚” the owner of the fire-ravaged Kitty and Puppy Haven in Midrand said on Tuesday.
An unexplained fire consumed an extensive section of the animal sanctuary at the weekend.
“On Sunday morning I got a frantic call from my colleagues at 8 o’clock that there is a fire in the puppies’ section. I got out of the car; I was running so fast I fell. It’s the most frightening thing and thank God‚ the first thing my guys told me was that they (the dogs) are okay. They knew that otherwise I was literally going to have a heart attack‚” said Samantha Berger‚ owner of the shelter.
TimesLIVE visited the sanctuary on Tuesday and was greeted by heaps of wasted and burned dog food.
"It’s literally taken apart my buildings‚" said Berger‚ who opened the centre for injured‚ abused‚ neglected and abandoned animals 18 years ago.
"Unfortunately it destroyed all our dog food. Three tons of food was taken up in a blaze‚” she said.
She was grateful that the building and food were the only things she had lost in the blaze.
"Even though they were all saved‚ I can’t help but think about them . . . If any of my animals died‚ that would have been traumatic. It scares you because you suddenly think ‘oh‚ my gosh‚ this can happen’‚" Berger said.
The sanctuary houses over 250 animals including dogs‚ pigs and cats.
Currently the rescued dogs are at foster homes and placed in parts of the sanctuary which‚ luckily‚ were unscathed by the blaze.
“It has been the most traumatic 48 hours ever‚” Berger said.
She said her sons‚ aged 11 and 13‚ understood her devotion to the shelter and shared her trauma.
"They were born into this‚" she said. "They were also shocked."
Community groups across Johannesburg are mobilising on social media platforms to assist with donations but the shelter is pleading for more donations‚ especially from veterinary food suppliers.
The damage is estimated at R300‚000.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Donations can be made here.