Township pets sterilized for free

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SWAKOPMUND – Around 100 domestic township pets were spayed and neutered in three days during the first Swakopmund non-profit Have-A-Heart sterilization project, which ended early this week at the DRC informal settlement.

As it costs about N$1 200 to have one’s pet spayed by a private veterinarian, DRC residents whose dogs were spayed saved over N$100 000.
Through this enormous charity-driven effort, five cats and 87 dogs will live a life free of the burden of having to produce unwanted litters as well as minimize the risk of spreading diseases.
Performing the operations single-handedly was South African vet Dr Desmond Stafford, who heads the charity Avatar Sterilization and Protection Services in Johannesburg.’
He has facilitated many crucial spayathons across Namibia over the past few years.
The excellent team effort was led by Have-A-Heart organiser Geisha Neuberg and all the other volunteers who helped to perform what seemed like a miracle over a short period of time.
The entire spayathon took place at the small DRC fire station depot, which became a hive of activity as hundreds of DRC pet owners gathered from last week Friday to Monday with their pets to make use of the free sterilization service.
These humble quarters were turned into a full-blown operating theatre, with anethaesist Sheelagh Bagat-Smith from Swakop Vet assisted by Ute Holstein who prepared the animals before they went onto the operating table.
A dedicated team of Have-A-Heart volunteers manned the recovery area where the dogs came out of surgery.
Most of the animals were pre-chosen by Swakopmund-based Feed a Paw charity, spearheaded by a local mother and daughter team who distribute dog food regularly to the homes of the needy and provide vet care for their pets.
Another huge shout-out went to the Swakopmund Fire Brigade who made their premises available for the spayathon, and mention must be made to the Swakop SPCA who were of great assistance.
The generosity of the local business community, assisted in raising funds for the three-day Have-A-Heart spayathon, which forms part of a nationwide pilot project that holds free sterilization for thousands of township pets countrywide to reduce suffering and breeding of unwanted litters.
Dr Stafford, who is not new to Namibia, started off the 2015 Have-A-Heart spayathon in Swakomund together with the project’s founder – Outjo resident Lindie Prinsloo.
From the coast he will be heading to the settlements of Outjo and Rundu which like Swakopmund will be another first, adding to the long list of towns in Namibia that are benefiting from this truly remarkable effort.
Later in the year, he will tackle some of the towns in the south where his services will be given for free.
Have a Heart organiser Geesche Neuberg said she would like to see Swakopmund host regular sterilization projects, because the need is so great amongst the underprivileged communities who cannot afford veterinary care for their pets.
Have-A-Heart is a national charity driven spay and neuter programme, addressing the overpopulation of stray and free roaming dogs in the underprivileged areas.
It was started in Outjo as a non-profit organisation some three years ago, and is held on a regular basis in major towns around Namibia stretching from Rundu in the north to Lüderitz where in some cases the local vets have come on board with their services to help drive this project.

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