The times are a changing… well the Animal Anti-Cruelty League has certainly seen change in their 50 years of operation. Were they all good? Certainly some were, but if we consider that animal cruelty in all forms still continues to this day, then no, not all have been good. Our mission is the Care and Protection of all Animals and long may this charter endure, for the need is great and our ethos strong.
On the 28th February 1956, through the determined efforts of a few volunteers, not least Founder, the late Olga R. Allen and compatriots Martin Hind and Wendy Harvey to mention a few, a body was formed in Johannesburg, to oppose the practice of holding rodeos. With less than ‘5 Pounds’ in the kitty, efforts were extended into the rescue and treatment of animals after Olga Allen accompanied a journalist into the townships of Soweto and Alexandra and realized the dire conditions that many animals were subjected to.
At this time, the Anti-Cruelty League’s (as they were formerly known) mission, included the harbouring and care of abused women and children, but it soon became apparent that this would be a difficult mix to maintain and that concentration should be given to the area of animal welfare.
Based out of a private house in the north-eastern suburb of Bramley, the group continued to be active and July 1959 saw the advent of the first branch office being established in Durban, after a meeting was held in a coffee shop between Olga Allen and the late AACL™ chairlady and doyen of animal welfare, Joyce Northend.
History in the making
6 Marjorie Street, Regents Park, became the home of the Johannesburg Society and subsequently the office of the National Body, when it was acquired during the early sixties and has remained the base for operation.
However, with the advent of the N17 motorway, this led to the expropriation of some of our land. Our entrance and address changed to 59 Alice Street, Regents Park, which was the back part of our premises and included our stables. In those early days, an important function of the League was that of horse rescue and a fulltime farrier was employed at the society.
Today, while we no longer treat horses at the Johannesburg Society, we continue to assist in rescue operations when called upon.
In 1972, the organization met with financial difficulties and the threat of closing down seemed imminent. But at the eleventh hour, a Johannesburg based businessman came on board and managed to save the day and the organization has gone from strength to strength.
In 1969 the Cape Town office was started; in 1979 the Ladysmith branch; in 1983 an office opened in Port Elizabeth; in 1986 the Pietermaritzburg branch and during 1989 in the heart of the farming area, a branch was established in Bredasdorp, Western Cape. In 1982 a branch was started in Pretoria, however, due to mismanagement, was closed in 1998.