AKI Grantee: Sauvons nos Animaux in the DR of Congo
Sauvons nos Animaux in the DR of Congo hires staff, buys meds, & starts sterilizing!
With the 2021 grant from Animal-Kind International, SnA hired a vet and vet assistant for 6 months to work at the SnA shelter and bought meds so they can treat the shelter's cats and dogs for various issues and to get all of them spayed and neutered. During covid, the shelter fell behind in their s/n surgeries. They used to borrow a vet from the nearby primate sanctuary, but during covid, with fewer visiting vets, the primate sanctuary couldn't spare theirs. And with donations way down, SnA couldn't hire a vet without our help.
SnA started right off, as soon as they got the AKI funding on August 16. Paterne Bushunju (shelter director) and veterinarian Dr. Astride Matata purchased medicines from the Diocesan Office of Medical Works. Next, they put up a temporary clinic (thank you to volunteers Olivier, Innocent, Benoit, Aganze, and Freddy for your good work!) Then, Dr. Matata and Dr. Tite, her assistant, and 3 interns, with help from SnA volunteers, collected 150 blood samples from the shelter's dogs and cats to help diagnose diseases that they needed to treat-some of which had to be dealt with before beginning the surgeries.
Dr. Astride will not only be spaying and neutering, she will also treat the shelter animals' illnesses and injuries. Lucky for SnA, because on September 2, at about 8 pm, Paterne received a call about a dog that was shot in an armed robbery attack. When the SnA team arrived on the scene an hour later, he was still bleeding. The bullet had pierced his neck, and all night, Dr. Astride, with help from Paterne and 2 volunteers, Freddy and Angaze, and the guard, tried to save him. But sadly, he died at 5 am. At least he was with people who were trying to help, not hurt him.
On September 9, sterilizations began! Over the next 12 days, the SnA team spayed 38 females and neutered 32 males (photos below). Dr. Astride does regular follow-ups of all the animals of the refuge, plus checks the new arrivals upon entry.
On September 20, a dog was found tied to a tree in the bush and had seriously injured himself while trying to escape. The vet team was put to work to treat this poor dog (photo below), who's now safe at the SnA shelter.
And then on September 29, a puppy was brought to the shelter after someone found him stuck in a ravine full of water. He had a rope tied around his neck that prevented him from being able to escape. Dr. Astride treated him and he is improving (below).
Now, more than half of the shelter's population is sterilized, but the vet team had to stop the surgeries because of a bigger problem-lack of funds to purchase dog and cat food. Dry pet food in the DRC is very expensive, so SnA mostly uses rice, some meat, vegetables, cassava--local foods, more readily available than store-bought pet food, and less expensive. But even so, the cost of food in the DRC is very high. The cost for feeding the +/- 200 animals at the shelter is about US$70/day!
Paterne told us that "they had to stop the sterilizations because of the famine which strikes the refuge, more than 20 dogs are very thin because of the famine and do not reach the weight necessary to be sterilized. This is our biggest challenge and we can't continue to sterilize the animals until we can adequately feed the cats and dogs! We have to do everything we can to find the funding to feed the animals well so that they don't lack anything. Animals that eat well are less sick."
We are trying to help Paterne raise money to purchase food for the shelter animals. We are grateful if you can help us, even small donations go a long way. To read more about Paterne and his dedication to the shelter animals, see this AKI Blog post.
To donate to Sauvons nos Animaux so Paterne can purchase pet food, please donate & designate SnA here.