Changing township lives by helping township pets

As Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha celebrates 20 years of serving animals and their community this year, we plan to roll out our largest campaign yet – providing medical treatment to 12 000 animals. Animal abuse and neglect is part of everyday life in townships across South Africa. But imagine a change – a community where animals are seen as companions by every community member. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha is creating this change and we are asking the public to be a part of it.

In just two months we wish to raise the cost of one year’s supply of medical drugs and consumables costs ($40 000 / R600 000) to treat approximately 12 000 animals during our next financial year (July 2016 – June 2017). Our very first Crowdfunding campaign has gone live on Generosity by Indiegogo. In just a few days the campaign raised R25 000 as people are rushing to the online site to support what we want to achieve.

A township such as Khayelitsha suffers from high rates of violence, poverty, disease and social distress. Children are born into a cycle of poverty and insecurity believing that rape, hunger, violence and cruelty are norms. Animals are victims of this environment as much as humans are and the health of the two is undoubtedly linked. “At Mdzananda we believe that a community that loves animals is a healthy community. By looking after an animal people learn responsibility, respect for life, compassion and non-violence. These are valuable attributes which flow over into everyday life,” says Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manger.

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The Khayelitsha township is home to an estimate of 500 000 people and their 170 000 pets. The majority of dogs and cats are unvaccinated, which means infectious diseases are extremely prevalent. Pets are unsterilized and this leads to a constant increase in animals. There is a great lack of knowledge about animal husbandry, leading to nutritional and parasitic diseases. The lack of established properties and stray dog population results in many animals roaming the township and becoming victims of motor vehicle accidents. These are only a few examples of the challenges animals face in a township environment.

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However, this does not mean that they are not loved.

“There is often the opinion that people in townships should not own pets. We have a different opinion. Anyone who visits Mdzananda has the pleasure of meeting owners who adore their animals. Lack of education and funds are what generally results in neglect, illnesses and injuries. We work on educating the community while providing low cost veterinary services,” says du Plessis.

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“We are excited to launch this campaign in celebration of our 20 year milestone. We have helped thousands of animals through the years and we want to make our 21st year the most impactful one yet. But we need the public to help make this possible by supporting our online crowdfunding campaign.”

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic serves up to 1000 animals per month through consultations, hospitalization and surgery for sick and injured animals, primarily dogs and cats. Other services that we provide include performing continuous sterilizations, rehoming unwanted or abandoned pets and assisting with cases of neglect or abuse.

With 31% of the households in Khayelitsha falling below the poverty line of $121 / R1845 per household per month, it is impossible for most people to afford private or even standard veterinary welfare organization fees. There is also little to no transport for community members to access help for their pets outside the Khayelitsha area. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic offers low cost veterinary services, generally not even covering our cost price, in the heart of the Khayelitsha township.

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Apart from our permanent clinic, our Mobile Clinics reach areas of the community that are beyond walking distance from the clinic. Mobile Clinics help to make services for pets easily accessible. An ambulance service that collects and delivers animals is also available.

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The Mdzananda Animal Clinic has a strong focus on community empowerment and education. We believe that only through education can we make a lasting impact in the lives of animals and their human companions.

“Our vision is to transform the community into one where every animal is treated with companionship and care and in so doing creating a healthier community for animals and humans alike.”

Support the campaign to change 12 000 township pets’ lives by visiting www.mdzananda.co.za

 

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is supported by individual donors since 1996, the International Fund of Animal Welfare since 2003 and Investec since 2015.

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