Prince Albert welcomes animal sterilisation SWAT team

Thursday, June 10, 2010
Cape Town, South Africa
The Central Karoo village of Prince Albert is gearing up to welcome a veterinary team of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) which aims to sterilise every dog and cat in the village’s poor North End township next week.

IFAW estimates approximately 450-500 dogs live in the township and has already vaccinated 429 dogs and 50 cats, to prepare them for the surgery. The last remaining dogs and cats are being vaccinated by the Department of Agriculture this week.

A team of four veterinarians, two vet nurses, animal welfare assistants and volunteers will arrive in the Prince Albert on Monday, ready to begin the marathon task.

“Prince Albert is one of South Africa’s smallest municipalities and is extremely isolated. The village’s only vet has done his absolute best to help its poorest residents to adequately care for their pets, but the need is simply too great, and so we have been asked to help,” said Christina Pretorius, programme manager for IFAW Southern Africa.

“IFAW has assembled a team of veterinary professionals from our companion animal projects in Cape Town and Johannesburg and they hope to accomplish sterilising every single dog and cat old enough to receive this important surgery in a seven day period starting on 15th June.”

The highly complex operation is being managed according to IFAW’s exacting minimum standards, which require all dogs and cats to be vaccinated, dewormed and to receive anti-parasitic medication two weeks ahead of surgery – a team travelled from Cape Town to do this last week. In addition each dog and cat received rabies vaccinations provided by the Department of Agriculture.

An empty house has been donated by a Prince Albert resident for use as a surgery, and the entire team of 11 people are being hosted by guest houses and lodges in the village.

“This a true community initiative with Prince Albert’s wealthier residents generously helping less fortunate residents of the village,” said Pretorius.

“The isolated nature of Prince Albert (it is 70 kms away from the nearest sizeable town) means we can make a distinct and long-term difference to the health of the dog and cat population – and it will be much easier to manage pet health thereafter.”

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