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This is the official page of Have-a-Heart Namibia. This much needed project provides free spay and neuter services for dogs and cats of low and no income families across Namibia in municipal townships and informal settlements.

Have-a-Heart is a non-profit organisation registered in Namibia (21/2014/0378) and in Germany (18/294/73042) which aims to reduce stray animal populations sustainably and humanely, thus eliminating the need for mass euthanasia or killing of dogs and cats in Namibia.

Have a Heart is solely relying on donations and is run by volunteers. All donations received are used to pay several vets for spay, neuter and necessary medication. Our volunteers go out of their way to improve the lives of animals in townships and informal settlements by providing advice and physical help to pet owners who otherwise have no access to such information or service.

Since starting in 2013, Have-a-Heart has grown to have teams volunteering in several towns across Namibia (southern Africa) and has collectively sterilised over 18,800 animals (May 2023).  


About and Goals

What is Have-a-Heart?

Have-a-Heart is a registered non-profit organisation (21/2014/0378), working across Namibia, with the ethos of saving lives through sterilisation’.

Our main aim is to provide free dog and cat spay and neuter services to pet owners with low or no income. Our goal is the ultimate, sustainable aim of reducing the number of stray animals thus eliminating the need for mass-euthanasia, whilst improving the health and welfare status of township dogs and cats.

Every dog and cat sterilised by Have-a-Heart also receives a vaccination and parasite control treatment, bringing direct health benefits to dogs and cats themselves as well as the human communities and local wildlife populations.

How are we currently funded? Have-a-Heart Namibia is a non-profit organisation and we receive no support from the government, meaning we are to 100 % reliant on donations to carry out our work.

How does Have-a-Heart operate? Have-a-Heart Namibia has partnered with about 20 veterinarians from all over Namibia and the mobile animal clinics of Dr Erna Meyer, Dr Hartmut Winterbach, and Dr Ian Baines. We work together with the vets and organise spay and neuter events for dogs and cats, depending on the availability of the vets and funds.

Why is Have-a-Heart the best placed organisation to carry out this work and what experience do we have? Have-a-Heart is the only registered non profit organisation in Namibia carrying out mass sterilisation in townships, and is already well known and established in the country with a proven track record of success.

How much experience do you have? Our teams have been working with low and no income families since 2013, and know well the challenges of working in townships and rural settlements in Namibia. The teams are well experienced and practiced in communicating the benefits of our work to pet owners and answering any questions they may have regarding sterilisation and vaccination. 

There are currently no other registered non profit organisations providing large scale spay and neuter services in Namibia. However, we have good relationships with other local animal rescue groups and SPCAs, for example in Swakopmund the SPCA recognise that spay and neuter is the only long-term solution to reduce the number of animals in SPCA’s and is working closely with Have a Heart. Additionally we have a number of support letters from local conservation groups who recognise the benefits of sterilisation and vaccination to Namibia’s wildlife populations.

The Towns

Teams working in different towns all over Namibia, raising funds and organising Spay Days. If you would like to join Have a Heart and help us with fundraising in general or for a specific town, please contact Sarah and Geesche: haveaheartnamibia@gmail.com

Have-a-Heart are able to organise spay days for cats and dogs of low or now income pet owners in the following towns:

– Rundu, Rehoboth, Gobabis, Outjo, Mariental, Aranos, Koes, Otjiwarongo, Henties Bay
– Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Karibib, Windhoek, Bethanie,
Usakos, Keetmanshoop, Aus
– Luderitz, Uis, Khorixas, Kamanjab, Oshakati, Grunau, Tsumeb, Witvlei, Windhoek, Arandis
– Omitara, Ondangwa, Okahandja, Omaruru, Maltahöhe, Karasburg, Grootfontein and more!    




Spaying dogs

Why is a free spay/neuter service needed in Namibia?

Namibia is a large, developing country, and with a population of just 2.4 million people, has one of the lowest population densities worldwide plus a very high unemployment rate.

The fact that just 30 % of the population have direct access to veterinary care, coupled with long distances between towns, limited options for public transport and low or no income, often mean dogs, cats and other animals go their entire lives without veterinary care and attention.

A direct consequence of this is uncontrolled breeding of dogs and cats, producing ever increasing stray populations across rural Namibia.

Such populations are unwanted and problematic, causing human health risks and a danger to local wildlife which are often hunted when stray dogs or cats are forced to find their own food. Also the WHO recons for many years that witnessing mass killing of dogs and cats cause a lot of stress in adults and especially children, often resulting in PTS, followed by violent behavior. Sterilisation and the resulting sustainable and humane reduction in stray dog and cat populations will ultimately lead not only to less dogs and cats becoming homeless, but also to more safety for everyone in the community.

What does Have-a-Heart Namibia hope to achieve?  

Have-a-Heart Namibia aims to provide Have-a-Heart’s services to dogs and cats from no and low income families in (remote) towns and settlements Namibia. Ultimately Have-a-Heart Namibia will bring about a humane reduction in stray dog and cat populations by sterilisation – stopping unwanted and uncontrolled breeding in these towns. 

The health and welfare status of the dogs and cats will be vastly improved by the protection from various potentially life threatening diseases and control against internal and external parasites, such as those causing mange.

Additionally female dogs and cats will be free from the endless cycle of having puppies, and male dogs and cats will be less prone to fighting and wandering the streets in search of females, which all too often results in animals suffering or dying in road accidents in Namibia.

From past experience working in towns all over Namibia, we know it is possible for an experienced vet to sterilise an average of 25 dogs and cats per day, whilst volunteers provide dipping services to free dogs of external parasites to over 100 dogs in a single morning, therefore Have a Heart can quickly have a sustainable impact in rural communities.

Additionally Have-a-Heart Namibia will bring about the following advantages to the local human and wildlife communities:

Rabies is a potentially fatal disease causing acute inflammation of the brain. In unvaccinated humans rabies is 99.9 % fatal after neurological symptoms have developed. It is estimated that over 99 % of human cases of rabies are caused by dog bites, with 40 % of cases being children under 15 years of age.

The World Health Organisation recommends vaccinating dogs as the most humane and (cost-)effective method of eliminating rabies. Every dog and cat Have-a-Heart sterilises is also vaccinated against rabies, therefore stopping the possibility of transmission of this fatal disease to humans and other animals. Have a Heart Namibia has been shortlisted for the 2020 Rabies Award for the fantastic results we provide in the fight against rabies! 

Dog bites are a common problem, with dog bites affecting tens of millions of people globally each year. Serious bacterial infections of soft tissue or bone (osteomyelitis) can arise which can become life-threatening if left untreated, as well as substantial scarring.

It is estimated that 92 % of dog attacks are by male dogs, and that 94 % of them are not neutered.

By spaying or neutering animals, their temperament is often altered, with the animals generally becoming calmer, less territorial and therefore less aggressive.

Have-a-Heart has the following benefits to local wildlife populations:

Hunting of wildlife

With limited resources, families of no and low income often struggle both financially and physically to cope with the addition of one or more litters of kittens or puppies. All too often this results in these animals becoming homeless and roaming the streets, forced to find their own food and water, may lead to the hunting of wildlife. This has been recorded twice within the last years in Luderitz alone, when stray dogs began hunting Oryx and Springbok.

Spaying and neutering is the only proven, sustainable way to reduce stray animal populations, therefore Have-a-Heart is working to reduce the problem of stray animals hunting wildlife. 

Canine distemper: This is a contagious and serious viral illness with no known cure. It can be transferred from domestic dogs to wildlife and vice versa, and is one of the major threats to the survival of the African Wild Dog.

Hybridization: Any stray cats in rural areas have the potential to mate with African wild cat; a species which is currently threatened by hybridization with the domestic cat. Cats roam a lot more than dogs, therefore the only way to stop the possibility of hybridization is by desexing.