Report by Karen Rae, AKI Board Member
This AKI grant was awarded in honor of Elisabethe Mae Reinaker, a young animal advocate from Mozambique and a future vet.
Ilha is a tiny island only 3km by 500 meters. The local population on the island was terrified of dogs and would stone or poison them. The local police, far from punishing this behavior, actually went out randomly shooting the dogs, causing horrendous injuries. AWI set about a program of vaccinating and spaying / neutering the dogs and cats. They wanted to stabilize the sheer number of feral animals but also vaccinate them so that the local population could feel safe mingling with the stray dogs and cats.
Slowly local people are starting to become aware of the value of companion animal and are visiting the clinic to ask for veterinary care for their dogs and cats. There are also calls requesting help for a stray injured animal or abandoned puppies and kittens. This is great progress considering in 2013, when AWI started out, the local people were the ones causing most of the injuries and deaths of the feral animal population.
Dr. Sara show in the photo above, is AWI’s resident vet. Using the grant from Animal-Kind International, in one month, Dr. Sara spayed and neutered 4 dogs and 32 cats. In addition, AWI has vaccinated 10 dogs and 8 cats and taken care of 17 animals that needed to stay at the clinic for special treatment including wound care. Thaaru a 3-legged cat had arrived at the clinic with a leg that was literally disintegrating. Vittoria, the director at AWI, says that initially he was scared and wouldn’t let anyone stroke him, cowering in his cage. But after being treated he became the sweetest cat and will take on a paternal role towards any little stray that shares his cage.
Shown above, Thaaru and Maria, nicknamed the Pest, since she never stops playing, jumping, attacking him.
AWI’s employee, Tropa, sets traps for the cats and goes out to catch dogs. Recently Tropa found 7 cats in the traps but other days he might find none. On the island there is a daily clinic and some animals might be spayed or neutered the same day they are caught, and others might need treatment before they can undergo surgery. Also on the team is Abdul who is trained as a human nurse but has been assisting Sara for two and half years.
Sara and Tropa found these kids (photo above) on the street with a small puppy that they were trying to sell. After questioning the children, they found out there were more. AWI educated the children on why they shouldn’t sell dogs or any other animal for that matter and the kids are now acting as scouts! If they find more puppies, they tell AWI where they are located so the clinic can pick them up.
In return they have been given exercise books, they visit the clinic twice a week and are taught how to deal with stray dogs, and how to look after cats.
Above: little Gigi, along with four litter mates, came to the clinic scared and shy. They were found in a garage. Their mother had supposedly been killed. Possibly the mother leaves the pups in what she thinks will be a safe place during the day while she tries to find food. All the pups were rehomed and below is a picture of Gigi’s brother, Max, going home with his new human companion!
Kittens, like little Leika below, are frequently found on the streets either with or without their mothers. AWI will keep them and vaccinate them until they are old enough to be re-homed. Sara and Tropa do a monthly round to check on the kittens that have gone to homes to ensure they are well, healthy and properly looked after.