On the 2 April 2016 a team of 16 members made up of staff from the National Council, Kloof and Highway SPCA and two vets made their way to the town of Pomfret for a large scale outreach.
Pomfret is a village/town in the North West near the border of Botswana. It is a unique town in South Africa as the population is made up mostly of Portuguese speaking Angolan war veterans of 32 Battalion and their families. The town functioned around an Asbestos mine until its closure in 1984 and since then Pomfret has had virtually no source of income; all services and amenities have been severed in an attempt to force the occupants to relocate. The Angolan residents of the town however, cannot relocate as they are not accepted anywhere else in South Africa and are unable to return to Angola because of their allegiances during the war. Therefore Pomfret is now a derelict village with many partly destroyed houses and poverty stricken residents.
It is for these reasons that the area was identified for an outreach and it proved to be a very deserving and rewarding community to work in.
On the Sunday after arriving, our team set up a field clinic in the now vacant house of two missionaries. The clinic was spring cleaned and all furniture moved aside to allow space for two veterinarians to work comfortably. Before we had even finished setting up, our first animals started to arrive. We couldn’t send them away and so the outreach began a day early.
In total we sterilised 268 dogs, 45 cats and 1 goat, which we estimate to be nearly all of the domestic animal population in Pomfret. Every domestic animal that was sterilised was also vaccinated and treated for parasites and went home with food, water, a bowl, a collar and a blanket.
Our donkey team assisted a total of 164+ equine with dipping, harnessing improvements and repairs, wound treatment, handling and other welfare issues.
The Farm Animal Protection team reached 95 goats, sheep and cattle which were treated for a variety of health conditions and 4,000 sheep, goats and cattle which were dipped for ticks.
Because of the variety of animals in need, this turned into one of the largest scale outreaches ever attempted by the National Council.
The call for assistance and donations went out far and wide and many people and companies responded with great enthusiasm. Meadow Feeds, in particular, helped make this outreach the success it was. They donated 54 tonnes of livestock food and 10 000L of water as well as sending a team from Johannesburg to assist us with setting up over the weekend. Barloworld sponsored a 34 tonne truck to transport the food to Pomfret from Johannesburg in two separate loads. National Council staff distributed the food fairly, according to herd size to over 100 people in order to feed their goats, cattle and working equine after the drought during the coming winter.
From a variety of SPCAs and individuals we received a large amount of dog and cat food, dog bowls, blankets and collars for the animals all of which was distributed during the outreach. We also received many old clothes, toys, baby products and useful items which were given out wherever we noticed a need and the rest given to a community leader to distribute to the town’s people.
Most importantly, however, it was the team on the ground that made this possible. A special thank you must go out to all involved, especially our CEO Marcelle Meredith, and Kloof and Highway Manager, Barbara Patrick (both National Council Board members) who took time out of their busy schedules to work out in the field with the Inspectors.
We express our thanks to all the SPCAs and individual sponsors that assisted in one form or another, and a special thanks to the National Council team that stayed behind and supported us with organising and packing and for providing coverage on Facebook.
Follow-up visit to Pomfret community
Following the major outreach in the Pomfret area in April 2016 we returned to this community on 20 May for an additional five days.
During this time our outreach team provided animals with follow-up booster vaccinations and tended to domestic and farm animals, donkeys and horses.
Close on 100 people attended our animal welfare workshop where we discussed caring for animals in the community. A great turn out and very participatory!
We thank everyone who answered our appeal for blankets which were gratefully accepted by a community which experiences very cold winters.