On World Stray Animal Day, helping South Africa’s 4 million homeless dogs and cats protects human health too, says Humane Society International/Africa

Stray and community animals can endure hunger, disease, injury and abuse

Humane Society International / Africa

Kobus Tollig for HSI

CAPE TOWN―This World Stray Animal Day, Humane Society International/Africa is promoting the role that street animal health can play in protecting human health. According to the Mars State of Pet Homelessness Report, over 360 million dogs and cats are homeless across 20 countries studied, 4.05 million in South Africa alone, of which 650, 000 live in shelters and 3.4 million live on the streets. Many street dogs live alongside some of the world’s poorest communities which have little access to spay/neuter, vaccination or other veterinary services. Life can not only be extremely tough for these animals battling starvation, untreated disease and injuries, but lack of veterinary care can also create human health issues from untreated tick, mite, lice and fly infestations as well as rabies.

HSI/Africa’s Healthy Pets, Healthier Community pilot program in Struisbraai and Bredasdorp, Cape Agulhas, is improving the welfare of roaming and owned community dogs and cats through sponsored veterinary services, mass sterilisation, vaccination, deworming and other treatments. The program also delivers humane education for local schools and families as well as an animal law enforcement component to strengthen the protection of animals in these communities. Soon, the charity will expand the program to reach people and animals in other regions.

Fagan Vollenhoven, campaign manager for HSI/Africa’s companion animal and engagement program, said: “There are around 4 million homeless dogs and cats living in South Africa, which not only presents an animal welfare challenge, but as so many of these animals live within some of our most underserved communities, keeping these animals safe and healthy also benefits human health. Our Healthy Pets, Healthier Community program brings sponsored veterinary services including spay/neuter and vaccinations to communities living with owned and roaming dogs and cats who may struggle to find enough food, water, shelter, veterinary care and safety. Meaningful and effective community engagement and humane education play a central role in the success of our program and we’re proud of our work to foster safer, peaceful coexistence between people and the companion animals with whom they live.”

On this World Stray Animal Day, help reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs in South Africa by adopting a companion animal instead of purchasing and ensuring that your furry companions are equipped with adequate identification.

For video and photos click here.


Media contact: Leozette Roode, HSI/Africa media specialist; LRoode@hsi.org; 071 360 1104

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