Welfare to open vet clinic

Fisantekraal Animal Welfare (FAW) is on a fund-raising drive to pull off its plans to open a community vet clinic within the coming months.

Jenni Davies, of FAW, said the clinic would better meet the need in a growing community, where the nearest welfare veterinary surgery was more about 20km away.

FAW is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays and it offers vaccinations, deworming and parasite treatment. The organisation treats minor injuries and illnesses on site and subsidises food and re-homes animals where necessary.

The clinic, said Mr Davies, would prioritise sterilisations to tackle over-breeding – the biggest challenge in the area. Currently, most sterilisations are done at private vets in Durbanville and Bellville.

“Any given month we have heaps of forms of people needing to have their pets sterilised, and every time we are open, we get many sick and injured animals. Things like stitches for wounds have had to be done at the vet which is about 10 to 15km away,” Ms Davies said.

Animal overpopulation and neglect, she said, had a knock-on effect.

“More dogs means more dog bites and things that can be spread to people such as mange and ticks and annoyances like cats roaming and spraying.

“It is also a financial burden on an already impoverished community to have too many animals – often we get to places and the people say they didn’t want their pet to have puppies/kittens but simply had no access to help,” she said

Ms Davies added: “We also try to focus on advice and education – this cannot be done when we’re just taking animals out of the township to treat them; by doing them on site, it encourages responsibility, pride in being able to bring your pet to the clinic and allows many more opportunities for education.”

Ward 105 councillor Ruan Beneke set the wheels in motion for the clinic with R80 000 from his ward funds.

Mr Beneke said FAW had done “amazing work” in Fisantekraal, “mostly under very challenging circumstances”.

Fisantekraal, he said, had a population of some 10 000 people and most households had more than one animal.

“This is an extremely poor community that cannot afford vet fees. The majority of residents love their animals very much and would also like to care for their animals as best as possible.”

However, Ms Davies said FAW still needed more money and equipment before it could open the clinic. Its wish list includes: insulation for a shipping container, surgical tools, security fencing, an anesthetic machine, vinyl flooring and shelving and cupboards.

FAW will run several fund-raisers this year, including the FAW Cycle Challenge, to raise money for the vet clinic.