Many of you may have heard of Outreach KZN but do not really know what it is all about.   It is a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Animal Welfare Organisations in KZN. Animals from the indigent areas are the beneficiaries of the Project through the participation of their local animal welfare organisations.

The purpose of this partnership is the eradication of Rabies in KZN, through the mass vaccination of domestic animals.   Going hand in hand with the vaccination campaign is the mass sterilisation of the vaccinated animals – principally dogs. There is little point in vaccinating most of the dog population if they are left unsterilised to produce puppies which will be unvaccinated.   Controlling the numbers is key to the success of the campaign to eradicate rabies.   To assist the Animal Welfare Organisations, the Department pays for the sterilisation of these animals from the indigent/rural areas only.

The uMngeni SPCA has always had a very strong Outreach ethos.   With the funding from the Department, we saw the opportunity to reach out to far more animals than would ever have been possible with our limited funding.

The Project started on the 1st June 2012.   uMngeni SPCA’s monthly quota paid for by the Department was then 70 sterilisations per month. As time went on our numbers increased and Project Co-ordinator Hilda Hermann, increased our quota to what we could submit per month. We now average between 250 and 300 Outreach sterilisations per month. The amount paid to the SPCA’s, covers fuel, wear and tear on vehicles and drugs for the procedure.

We do urge other Animal Welfare Organisations, including SPCAs, to take advantage of this unique opportunity to get this financial support and be able to do the work that we should all be doing.   Using our proven methods of engagement in rural/indigent areas they will be amazed at what they can achieve. Respect cultural differences and the owner’s right to decide what is best for his animal, as long as there is no suffering involved. You will not need to use the Law to assist animals, your relationship with the community will open doors for you.

The uMngeni SPCA has achieved great success with the Project, because we drive it.  Monetary contributions alone are not sufficient, it needs committment and passion. Animal welfare workers who view outreach as a less important part of their job will not experience the reward of engaging with communities to make a significant improvement in the lives of animals.

The people you have helped become your contacts in the communities, actively promoting the work of the SPCA. When animals are being returned after surgery it can take time, as you are constantly being stopped by people wanting assistance with sterilisation/treatment, surrender of unwanted animals or alerting you to an animal in need.

Checking on ex patients is the best part of working with these communities. The animals spend only a few days with us, but in that time we nurture them and they never forget. You are pounced on and smothered in licks.   It is wonderful to see how overjoyed they are to see you. This relationship filters down to the owners, who are amazed at the affection lavished on you by their animals and, over time, we see a difference in their own handling of their animals.

Dudu Abraham, Operations Manager, uMngeni SPCA