“When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.” – Anthony Douglas Williams
An organisation that is close to all of our hearts here in Gansbaai is the Birkenhead Animal Rescue Centre (BARC). BARC is a Non-Profit Organisation which was started in 2009. BARC’s main objective is to care for stray, mistreated, neglected and abused animals in Gansbaai, Stanford and Baardskeerdersbos areas – covering about 10,000 houses in an area roughly 1,000 sq Km. Over the past 10 years BARC have rescued approximately 2,500 animals of which around 1,200 have been rehomed. BARC work extremely hard to rescue and find many animals a loving forever home.
Why BARC started?
In the 1990’s a few ladies in Gansbaai wanted to help animals in need by starting what they called the Birkenhead Animal Rescue Centre (BARC). They helped animals on a small basis, however, the operation was not successful due to lack of kennels and funding.
In 2009, Annalie Jonker who retired and resided in Kleinbaai, noticed that the town was full of strayed dogs and feral cats running the street, even puppies with their mothers. Some had severe mange, some only skin and bone and also very sick animals. Annalie could not take it anymore and went to the area manager at the Municipality to discuss the situation. They then called a public meeting during June 2009 in Gansbaai. Annalie suggested opening a second hand shop to generate funds to rescue the animals of Gansbaai. They then received donations from the public and the ball started rolling. A Fieldworker was also appointed at a very low salary. There were 4 kennels and no cattery on Municipal ground which they could use, however, that was in a bad state so had to be rebuilt. The Birkenhead Animal Rescue Centre was now reformed, with more determination.
Having now expanded to 24 kennels, BARC rely on volunteers – members of the public taking the dogs for a walk to release some energy as well as getting the animals used to human interaction. White Shark Projects take their volunteers to BARC on a regular basis to take the dogs for walkies, play with them in the yard and also just give cuddles and affection. BARC also have a cattery so our volunteers who are more feline inclined can give the kitties some attention. Over the years we have had a few White Shark Projects volunteers dedicate more time to BARC, such as past volunteer Emma King who spent her last week in Gansbaai helping to optimise BARC’s play area for the dogs.
BARC heavily rely on the generosity of the public and businesses for financial donations to help cover veterinary services and the everyday running of the centre. They also have a second hand shop located on Main Road 64, Gansbaai where they sell goods donated by the public. There are also other fundraising events such as the recent Golf Day where they were fundraising for animal sterilisation.
Another amazing campaign that BARC run once a year is the free sterilisation for animals with owners that can not afford a vet. They estimate that 100 animals each year are sterilised during this campaign on their account and this does not include all the dogs and cats that are adopted. Animals are not allowed to leave the kennels if they are not sterilised and have all their injections to minimise the problem with strayed and sick animals in Gansbaai.
BARC work extremely hard to rescue and find many animals in the Overstrand area a loving forever home. We will carry on supporting the amazing work BARC does for our furry friends in the community. They are always in need of extra funding to be able to provide veterinary services and care for the animals.
If you would like to make a donation to the centre or even give an animal a loving forever home, please contact:
Annalie: +27 (0)82 826 0631
Nols: +27 (0)83 742 3903
Birkenhead Animal Rescue Centre
Also to keep up to date with BARC’s efforts and animals that are looking for a loving home follow their Facebook page!
Keep up the amazing work BARC!