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African Pet Foundation

African Pet Foundation

18 Yusuf Salami Close

Igando, Near Ejigbo
Lagos, Nigeria

February 5, 2010

Dear Sir/Madam,

HELP AFRICAN PET FOUNDATION

Thank you for taking your time to read this letter thoroughly. My name is Francis Adebo and I represent the above foundation which I co-founded with Lillian Njemanze in April 2009. It was partly due to a childhood experience that left me devastated and angry for a major part of my life.

I was given a two-week old puppy by a favorite granduncle when I was 11 years old. I was happy and above all exhilarated because that was the first time I felt I had something I could call my own. My joy knew no bound. I named him Felly and took him everywhere I went everywhere and longed to play with him after school. One week later, my granduncle came and told me that he had to castrate the Felly. I did not know what it meant that time but he told me it would make him to grow fast, be robust and agile. That added to my joy. However, I was taken aback when I saw my granduncle and his friend held Felly upside down and used some small knives to make incisions. Felly cried and I cried with him. I rushed and held my granduncle’s hands begging him to leave Felly alone. He told me that it would be alright. Felly was in pain and weak afterwards. I found out later in life that they should have used anesthetic for the procedure. I took care of Felly afterwards and he got better and well. I was thrilled to have a vibrant Felly some days after and I took time grooming Felly to do simple things like where to pooh-pooh, urinate, “sit”, “stop”, “come”, “fetch”, training and nurturing him. I was happy because Felly grew in size, strength and became a big dog in less than one year. I learnt a lot. Dogs are fascinating, unique; they have emotions and feelings similar to our own.
I come from a society where dog meat and other pets like birds are eaten, they are considered delicacies. There is a big market for dog meat. Some erroneously believe that dog meat has some medicinal values. Some believe that the meat drives out evil influences and bad omen and the water from the meat cures ailments. I knew that my granduncle liked eating dog meat because he had many dogs that I did not see after some tine. One day I came back from school and there was my granduncle with his friend talking with my grandmother. They called me and started talking to me that they needed to take Felly away. I was angry. I told him that he gave me the dog that it was mine. He said he would return him back to me in a few days. I cried, said no and ran away with Felly. We did not come back until late in the night. My grandmother was angry with me for staying out late but I told her I had to protect Felly.

Early in the morning I heard footsteps. I knew deep down inside of me that it was my granduncle because I had bad dreams that night about Felly and I was waiting for dawn to come so I could check on him. I was praying that the footsteps I heard would be someone else. Then I heard a loud chilling shriek that brought goose bumps on my skin. I knew something must have happened to Felly. I rushed to where Felly slept, and to my chagrin saw my granduncle wielding a long piece of metal rod used for harvesting or digging out yam from the ground. Felly was writhing, his legs were twitching, and twisting and stiffening, around his neck was a sharp mark. It was obvious to me that my granduncle hit him on the neck with that rod. All of sudden every movement stopped, Felly was motionless and I knew he would not wake up again, never! I would never get to play with my dog, my friend and my companion. Rivulets of tears started cascading down my eyes. I was in so much pain that my head started exploding and my body started shaking. My granduncle was saying things to me but I did not hear. His voice sounded distant to me. He was a killer, a murderer and hate came upon me. To cut the story short, my granduncle and his friend took dead Felly away and I learnt that they ate him. I cry each time the memories come to me. I hated my granduncle afterwards and avoided him. I transferred the hate to his entire family and avoided them. I was scarred inside and was deeply afraid of getting another dog.

As I got older I got better emotionally and tried my best to let the experience go. I succeeded in letting hate out of my heart but I avoided my granduncle even when there was a family reunion. I went to the university and my roommate family owned different breeds of dogs. I became close to the family and they gave me a terrier on my graduation. It is a gentle and intelligent dog, strong and full of life.

My granduncle died in March 2009 and I decided to attend his funeral after persuasion from some family members. One of the reasons that propelled me to go was to see how it would heal me - help me to bring closure to some feelings. And it did! One of the things that came out of it was the idea for this foundation. Maltreatment, abuse and eating of dog meat have not abetted. It is on the increase. In some parts of the country they have open markets where they sell live dogs to be slaughtered for meat. In such markets they also sell dog meats. They call the meat “404”, “Eke Uke”, The Meat”, etc.

Lillian Njemanze is a cat lover. She has three of them. I met her on a trip to a vet doctor with “De Man” (that is the name of my terrier). I have come to love cats. Lillian has brought a positive energy into this foundation. She has brought the cat dimension which I do not know much about.

With limited funding we started this foundation and our main objectives are:

OBJECTIVES

To change the people’s orientation and mindset on how they perceive dogs/cats and other pets. Dogs are man’s friend and they should be treated with love instead of being abused. I was called the other day because armed robbers intruded a home and shot the dog when it barked. The owners did not bother to take the dog to the vet doctor but abandoned it to die. We took care of Nkwa (that is her name) and now she is in our care waiting for adoption.

Dogs are not meant to be eaten because we do not eat our friends.

Dogs/cats and other pets should be given medical care by taking them to vet doctors. The other day we had to retrieve a dog that the owners abandoned because it started going blind. Our part-time vet doctor confirmed that the dog is suffering from glaucoma. People do not take dogs with broken legs or wounds to vet doctors, rather they live them to heal on their own and most of these dogs contact other infections and other diseases and die or get permanently disabled.

It is okay to adopt and groom stray cats or dogs, give them a sense of belonging and happy lives. We can learn how to relate and care for people especially strangers if we can learn how to be kind to these intelligent creatures that do not talk.

To encourage people to train and groom their dogs to do tasks and improve on their potentials. Dogs protect from intruders, they have ability to see things and perceive when danger is coming, and they can be trained to lead the blind.

­WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR
We have been able to take in thirteen stray or street dogs and two cats groomed and trained them. We provided medical care to some of them and have had ten of them adopted. We have provided medical care to 23 dogs and four cats that were brought by the owners who could not afford the expenses. Seven of them are still in our care since they require extended medical care. Some of the diseases range from bacterial, viral, fungal to parasitic.

We have trained some owners on how to give proper care to their pets and when to take them for medical attention, first aid, feeding and simple things like bathing and scrubbing, taking care of lice and fleas.

We have carried out awareness programs, distributed pamphlets, printed and handed out bumper stickers to people in communities that eat dog meat to dissuade them from such. Some of the stickers read like this: “Your Dog is your Friend. Don’t Eat Your Friend”, “Great Minds Love Dogs”, “Ask Your Kids If They Need a Friend in Dog”. Some of the areas we targeted are Calabar in Cross River State, Rivers State, Anambra State, Akwaibom State and Lagos State where the practice of eating dog meats is prevalent. My digital camera with the pictures I snapped over the time of this practice was confiscated when we visited a military barrack in Lagos where they have restaurants that serve dog meats. We were manhandled as well.

OUR PLANS FOR THE YEAR

Last year I spent my earning and some meager contribution from loved ones to execute the works of the foundation. Many people think that we are out of our minds; there is little or no encouragement not to talk of funding. Government has no animal protection laws. It is so frustrating but we have more than determination and I appeal to you to help the foundation financially and otherwise. We are determined to make the changes.

The foundation’s budget for the year is $350,000.00 (three hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars).
Things to pay for or buy:
A bigger office/site so that we can expand, accommodate more pets and offices and work areas for staff
Employ more staff to help in our outreach programs and in the site
To establish offices and employ staff in five areas in the country where we know that slaughter of dogs for meat are alarming. Some of these places are about 10 – 12 hours drive from our location
To buy computers and other equipments like digital cameras, printers, scanners, video camera/camcorder, editing materials
Web page hosting so that we can have a presence on the web where you and other contributors can read our progress, view pictures and watch video of some of the pets, our campaigns and other events
Pay for web hosting and computer technician who will handle our computer/printing department
Pay for a fulltime or a consultant veterinary doctor to give proper medical care to the pets
Pay for vehicle to help us in our outreach programs
Pay for outdoor broadcasting equipments
Pay the staff and other workers
Pay for pet foods, toys, hygiene cares and other cares
Pay for stickers, handbills and bumper stickers

Other things planned for the year:

We want to sustain the momentum, double our efforts with more staff and continue with our targeted campaigns and awareness programs

We will work with local officials to make laws to protect pets and animals from abuse. We want to take the campaign to their offices and encourage them to adopt pets. We hope to go for national laws in the years to come

We will intensify the Adopt-A-Pet program. We plan to give puppies to school children with the consent at Parents-Teachers Association meetings

We will educate the children on how to care for the pets and also do follow-ups with them

We will follow up with adopted and rescued dogs/cats

As you can see, we have a lot to do this year and everything depends on how much funding we will be able to attract. We appeal to you and we depend on you to accomplish these. Please help us today by making a donation to African Pet Foundation. Any amount will go a long way in making a difference, so no amount is small.

Thank you in advance.

Contact the following people on how to send your material and financial donation:
Francis Adebo
Phone: +234 805 393 7599
Email: afripf@gmail.com , frankadebo@yahoo.com

Lillian Njemanze
Phone: +234 813 387 3264
lillianAPF4eva@gmail.com , lillianAPF4eva@yahoo.com

Sincerely,

Francis Adebo

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