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Needed attention for furry friends

CHRIS NISSEN PARK – For 102 pet owners Mandela Day will forever hold new meaning.

Thanks to the combined efforts of three animal welfare organisations, six veterinarians and an army of volunteers, their pets were sterilised free of charge at a mass spay clinic in Chris Nissen Park on Saturday (18 July).

“It was the most amazing day, with everyone working together to make these animals’ lives better,” said The Outreach Programme’s (TOP) Sam Mann, who organised the spay clinic. “It has had a significant impact on the community. Animals were drawn from Nomzamo, Lwandle and Chris Nissen Park.”

DA community leader George Bezuidenhout said hundreds of Chris Nissen residents are without work due to Covid-19 and cannot afford veterinary care or food for their pets.

“This initiative has been of cardinal importance to our community and I want to thank the veterinarians and TOP for coming to our aid,” he said.

Veterinarians from the EberVet Petcare Group and Animal Welfare Society (AWS) Helderberg volunteered their services for the six hours of surgery.

“Having witnessed what we did here today, [it is clear that] more pet owners are willing to have their pets sterilised. For the health of the animals, this is hugely important,” Mann said.

EberVet Petcare Group CEO veterinarian Dr Hilldidge Beer said pet owners should not underestimate the benefits of sterilisation. “It not only prevents unwanted litters, but also protects the animals against a host of diseases,” she explained. “A dog or cat that must feed countless litters will have compromised immunity.”

Louise Spagnuolo, who heads up Helderberg Animal Rescue Team (HART), said because the animal welfare organisations worked together on this project, each drawing animals from their areas of operation, more animals could be reached.

Every animal was collected from his or her home and brought to the church hall venue for surgery. They were also dewormed, protected against ticks and fleas, and sent home with a large bag of food. “We’ve had incredibly generous donations of food, for which we are hugely grateful,” said Nicola Bryant of EberVet. “Now every animal will have good nutrition to aid its recovery.”

Animal number 67, an ageing cross-breed named Lily, was enthusiastically cheered when she came out of surgery. The dog had had several litters in her lifetime and was on heat yet again, so this spay day came just in time.

“It has been really heartening for us to have the community’s support of this spayathon, and we’ll certainly keep hosting as many of these as we can. As Nelson Mandela said: ‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead’.”

An additional 100 animals were signed up for sterilisation as a result of the Mandela Day clinic. These will be done at EberVet Pet Clinic in Strand, which hosts weekly sterilisation outreach for animal welfare groups.

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