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Can you believe it we have been helping the lost, sick and abused animals of Hermanus for the past 49 years. Improvements have been taking place each year but in the last 6 months we have taken a big leap forward and exciting changes have been happening.

The society was founded in 1969 by Lynne Penver and friends Majorie Wallace, Maureen Poole and Tiny Cloete. They realized even then that there was a need to provide care for neglected, lost and sick animals. Initially they cared for the animals in their own homes, paying the costs themselves.

In 1983 land was purchased in the industrial area and the first buildings were constructed. By 1984 Cyril Schaeffer the chairman saw that expert veterinary care was needed and started transporting the sick animals to the nearest veterinary clinic, then in Caledon. Latterly the vet came once a week to Hermanus. This continued until 1992 when a deal was made with Russell Reuvers, the vet to treat the animals on site due to growing demand. He closed his practice in Caledon and transferred his clinic to the HAWS premises in Hermanus. This continued until 2012 when due to increasing costs, the agreement was legally terminated. HAWS sent out a tender to all the local veterinary practices asking them to submit their proposals and prices.

In the interim, a mobile service was set up, operating from the back of our animal ambulance. Staff from the kennels visited the Townships giving general animal health advice, vaccinations, flea treatment and dipping. Appointments were made for animals requiring sterilization and very sick animals were taken to the kennels for further care.

HAWS, has long since had a dream of opening its own clinic. Driven by the need to reduce escalating costs and provide a better and more cost effective service to the less privileged in our community. In this way HAWS hopes to perform a far greater number of sterilizations. This will reduce the continual increase of stray animals as well as improve the general knowledge on animal health care and as a result, their well-being.

Ilze Smith, the then Chairperson, took the opportunity to move forward with this project when we were awarded the runner up prize and received the monies raised in the Ladies Lighthouse to Lighthouse Practice Walk. This was in February 2012 and with our own additional fundraising, the building and renovation commenced in the November. Funds were still required for equipment and cages in the clinic so we launched The Wall of Fame initiative. Anyone donating R1000 or more would have their name in perpetuity, inscribed on a wall within the premises. We are pleased to say that you the public of Hermanus generously rose to the occasion.

The Welfare Shop was originally built in Long Street and run by Marigold Michel. The volunteers referred to it as The Black Hole. It was demolished in 1985 and transferred to the existing premises in Mitchell St, where we are today.