"Shops Shut" as more than 400 dogs and cats are sterilised in Karoo village

Monday, 21 June, 2010
Cape Town, South Africa
There is jubiliation in the Central Karoo village of Prince Albert as a mass sterilisation drive for dogs and cats last week netted 428 animals for the important surgery.

An animal sterilisation “swat” team of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) operated for five days from 15-19 June and hopes are high for a long-lasting result for the increased health of pets in the North End community.

As the sun glinted off the snow covered Swartberg Mountains, a team of four veterinarians, two vet nurses, animal welfare assistants and volunteers worked long days to make the marathon achievement which on Friday saw them sterilise a staggering 121 dogs and cats.

In total 240 dogs and 188 cats were sterilised. There were no fatalities. Vets were also able to treat minor injuries in a few dogs.

Mr George Katzen’s female dog Pienkie was among those spayed.

“I’m so excited. Now the shop is shut (the dog sterilised) Pienkie won’t have any more puppies, and I’ll save lots of money,” he said.

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

“We are exhausted but completely elated by the result,” said Christina Pretorius, programme manager for IFAW Southern Africa.

“It was a real team effort – from the vets, vet nurses and animal welfare assistants of IFAW’s projects in Johannesburg and Cape Town, volunteer vets and other volunteers to the fantastic people of Prince Albert who went out of their way to make us feel at home – and who generously provided nourishment, accommodation and other assistance to their visitors.”

Linda Jaquet, editor of the local newspaper, the Prince Albert Friend said the sterilisation drive “was a big and important story for this town, with long-term implications. Our thanks go to IFAW for caring about a small place (with lots of problems) like Prince Albert.”

IFAW has also provided the local Department of Agriculture with de-wormer and vaccines to support their work in helping the maintain the health of pets in the township; and other items have been supplied to Prince Albert’s only veterinarian who provides ongoing treatment to North end pets.

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