THE Johannesburg SPCA has taken to the streets in a bid to aid needy animals in underprivileged communities.
Spokeswoman for the organisation, Jolene Beyleveld, said that from the beginning of the year, they had embarked on an outreach programme to help animals in areas where treatment was not readily available.
This is because owners did not always have financial resources to help their pets or they might live far from a vet, she said.
Now, those in isolated areas who aren’t able to bring their animals to the SPCA Veterinary Hospital in Booysens, can still get their pets treated.
The Outreach Programme team include inspectors and veterinarians who travel to communities in need, especially those around Krugersdorp and in the south of Joburg.
“The JSPCA’s Outreach Programme provides basic veterinary care for animals in resource-poor areas,” she said.
“A fully equipped mobile clinic travels between these areas on a regular basis, and provides vaccinations, deworming and treatment for minor wounds out in the field.”
Beyleveld said those animals who required further treatment or sterilisation would be taken to the Veterinary Hospital.
In its first week, the Outreach Programme dealt with seven medical cases, vaccinated 49 animals and sterilised 15 cats and dogs.
Beyleveld said the main objective of the initiative was to care for neglected animals in impoverished areas.
“The ultimate goal of the Outreach department is to reduce the amount of potentially unwanted, abandoned and abused animals in resource-poor areas, as well as the high risk of the transmission of diseases such as rabies between infected animals and humans.”
The Outreach Programme also assisted owners with information on how to care for their animals properly, with the emphasises on the need for sterilisation.
Beyleveld, however, said that the best way to care for needy animals was for the JSPCA officials to work in conjunction with the communities they visited.
“We need to develop a relationship with the community so that they begin to trust us and don’t just see us as removing animals.
“The programme is run in conjunction with underprivileged communities, and the long-term trust relationship built up in this way ensures its sustainability.”
She said that although animals in the areas that the Outreach Programme visited were in need of treatment, their owners loved and cared for them, but did not always have the resources and funds to help them.
“Despite isolated cases of severe neglect and abuse, most of the residents our inspectors encounter love their animals dearly, and are always happy to receive information about how to care them.”
This Outreach Programme started on January 1 and was expected go on indefinitely.