Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Phenomenal response to community pet program

Unwanted litters of kittens and puppies are on the decline in South-Western Sydney, thanks to the success of a targeted desexing program - CAWS SWS - a collaboration between RSPCA NSW, Campbelltown City Council (CCC) and Sydney University Faculty of Veterinary Science.

The Community Animal Welfare Scheme South West Sydney (CAWS SWS) has desexed more than 300 animals in the last two years in Ambarvale, Rosemeadow, Airds, Bradbury and Macquarie Fields, and has been instrumental in reducing the number of unwanted companion animals in these areas, as well as ensuring their safe return should they become lost or stray. Desexed animals also live longer and are much healthier throughout their lifetime.

“The response to the program by the community has been phenomenal,” said Dr Ann-Margret Withers, RSPCA NSW Programs Veterinarian. “A significant amount of time and effort is put into connecting with the local community to build trust and respect. People are seeing the benefits and getting to know the program, so the numbers of participants increases with every Community Day,” Dr Withers added.

CAWS SWS hosts six Community Information Days in specific areas of Campbelltown each year and subsidised desexing, microchipping and vaccination makes these services accessible to lower income families. 

Fourth year veterinary students from Sydney University help out on the day, which helps them develop a variety of skills that are essential for preparing them for veterinary practice.”

Campbelltown City Council’s Acting Manager Compliance Services, Mr Paul Curley, said that the program has proved to be an effective complement to a range of initiatives that Council has implemented in an effort to increase community awareness about responsible pet ownership and the importance of desexing.

“Unwanted dogs and cats present a significant management challenge for councils, including Campbelltown, and the local success of the CAWS program has demonstrated the value of proactive initiatives in reducing the impact of this community problem,” said Mr Curley.

“The program really is a perfect example of three partners working together to achieve change within local communities for the benefit of both people and their animals,” Dr Withers concluded.

CAWS SWS will continue in 2014, with the next registration day to be held on Thursday 6 March in Macquarie Fields. 

For more information, please call: 02 9770 7555.

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