EDUCATION & REPORTING ABUSE
YOU MAY BE DISTRESSED when you see hamsters (and any other critters) in those errant pet shops that don't want to listen to advice and continue to house these animals improperly. What can you do?
Often the SPCA's hands are tied and they cannot or will not do anything about the size of habitats, mixed sexes, overcrowding as we know it, etc. There are no bylaws in SA about caged animals in terms of these necessary requirements and, as much as some branches say they do, they actually know precious little about proper care and the details of critters. SPCA can therefore only act if the animals are ill/injured, conditions are absolutely filthy, if there is no food & water, no shelter from external element, and if the overcrowding is literally wall-to-wall.
The odd SPCA branch will be keen to learn and take some action but, for the rest, we're kind of on our own here. HSA has tried to reach out to NSPCA and several SPCA branches to provide correct information, sadly to no avail.
You can reach out to Ban Animal Trading South Africa (BAT) to see if they can assist.
HERE ARE SOME PLACES THAT MAY BE ABLE TO ASSIST IF YOU REPORT
(It helps if you have photos and/or video footage to accompany your report)
The more complaints received by individuals, the better the chances of action being successful. Don't just rely on other people to report!
The wheel that squeaks the most, gets the oil!
Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL):
Online reporting http://www.aacl.co.za/report-animal-cruelty/
Call the Inspectorate – contact details closest to the offence: http://www.aacl.co.za/our-inspectorate/
Ban Animal Trading (BAT): Online reporting http://www.bananimaltrading.org/index.php/contact-us
Can offer assistance by way of pressure and seem to be more effective than NSPCA or us educational groups and rescue centers.
Animal Welfare Society: Google your closest branch.
Your local SPCA (or the branch closest to the offence) may/may not assist: https://nspca.co.za/spcas-in-sa/
ANIMALS BEING SOLD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
We advise that you refrain from purposefully trolling through FB Marketplace and other social media platforms to find bad hamster accessories and hamsters being sold.
You, nor the rescue centers, simply do not have the capacity to save them all, and many advertisers can be pretty rude when offered even the friendliest advice!
It will drive you insane!
However, if you do stumble upon something while searching for something else, note that it is illegal for animals to be sold via Facebook and you should hit the REPORT BUTTON!
EDUCATION IS KEY
The best you can really do is to constantly EDUCATE THE PUBLIC, and even TRY to educate errant pet shops.
The good news is that many pet shops are starting to see that there is merit in updating their knowledge but, unfortunately, this is happening far too slowly to make a fast enough impact in stopping the cruelty.
Please support those good shops, particularly those that do not stock animals, and promote the hell out of them to get people away from the bad shops. Give them good reviews on Google and Facebook!
For hamsters being kept with obvious lack of knowledge in pet shops, you may DM any of the admins on the group (take note of POPIA and don't mention the name publicly). We’ll be happy to reach out and offer them some advice and encouragement. Please provide as much contact detail (preferably email and/or website/FB page) and state what the problems are, as well as any good aspects within the shop.
If you see a person receiving outdated advice about hamsters at a pet shop, or looking like they are about to buy the animal or bad accessories, or you simply know of someone with a hamster but obviously lacking knowledge, PLEASE refer them to this website or our Facebook group.
It may even be a good idea to download and print a few basic care sheets, not just for hamsters but where available for the other critters too, and keep on hand to give to someone who looks as if they're about to purchase something dodgy. SPREAD THE EDUCATION!
HAMSTERS SOUTH AFRICA
Please note that Hamsters South Africa IS NOT a charity, shelter or rescue organisation and will never ask for donations.
We may sometimes put out a request for donations (either financial or items) on behalf of a rescue organization, but full official details of that concern and plea will be provided, and any donations will need to be made directly to them.
If you ever receive a request for donations to Hamsters South Africa, please report immediately to one of the HSA Admins:
Laura Esser - Group Admin
Keri Rall - Group Admin and owner of Keri's Custom Cabins
Robyn Chapman - Group Admin and owner of Robyn's Hamster Supplies
Sarah Mesham - Group Admin, Breeding & Genetics Advisor, and Founder of the Hamster Breeders Society of South Africa,
Owner of Hyggelig Hamster Haven SA
Tana Pressly - Founder and Group Admin
PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT THE TRADE OF LIVE ANIMALS VIA PET SHOPS.
ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!
FIND A SHELTER NEAR YOU, OR ASK ON YOUR COMMUNITY PAGES.