Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi - harbingers of pet care


Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi - harbingers of pet care
Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi holds the first-ever field clinic to sterilise the street cats

Abu Dhabi - The group has some 11 Abu Dhabi-based volunteer vets for support and two offered their services from abroad


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 26 Aug 2017, 6:17 PM

Last updated: Sat 26 Aug 2017, 8:20 PM

Abandoned and ailing pets across the Capital cut a sorry figure and an Abu Dhabi-based animal welfare group has stepped in to offer a helping hand with their community programmes and services.
Leading the charge at Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi, a volunteer-run group, is Dr. Susan Aylott. "We are a voluntary community organisation empowering people to help animals," Susan said.
It was three years ago that Susan found some 27 abandoned cats on Lulu Island. The 1,050-acre man-made island, which can be accessed only by boat, has become home to more than 165 cats, mostly left by their owners. "We looked into the source of the problem and realised that the solution was to provide a total package of feeding and comprehensive trap-neuter-return programme. The number of cats on the island has grown, but it could have been a lot worse without the programme. This is an ongoing process," she noted.
Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi's total solution programme has had "good support from businesses and hotels like Novotel Gate Hotel, ICT and TDIC. Caring for animals became part of their corporate social responsibility programme. It's a win-win situation for all," she said.
"We have had many positive reports on TripAdvisor from tourists, who appreciated the steps taken by the businesses in caring for the community cats. This in turn boosts revenue."
Field clinic to feeding stations
Earlier this year, AWAD successfully undertook the first ever field clinic in the country. The group has some 11 Abu Dhabi-based volunteer vets for support and two offered their services from abroad. The medical team comprises vets from British Veterinary Centre and Australian Veterinary Clinic in Abu Dhabi.
When it comes to operations to Lulu Island, Susan noted the logistic and economic difficulties in carrying out the services with boats being the only means of transportation. AWAD has also set up 200 feeding stations across Abu Dhabi and beyond.
"This programme allows for the cats to be healthy, vaccinated and stops the growth of the population - this too enhances the image of animal welfare in Abu Dhabi. All stations are clean and hygienic. They provide a life source for the community Arabian Mau's - a proud part of the heritage," Susan said.
AWAD, she said, is exploring the implementation of a mobile medical unit. With consistent efforts, AWAD has been able to develop a "stable" colony - an area with neutered cats. "Such initiatives have got a good response from community," she said.
Spreading the word
AWAD has taken the programme to schools and universities. "We had an amazing response from students of Al Rabeeh School Abu Dhabi amongst others. Students learn how to care for community animals. They are great ambassadors for the future."
Among the colleges, AWAD is collaborating with Abu Dhabi University and New York University Abu Dhabi with more expected to come on board in the future.
Susan highlighted the role played by Abu Dhabi municipality. "We work alongside the government approved animal control companies, which help to trap, neuter and return community cats. This initiative of the municipality to sterilise and return the cats to where they were picked up is a humane way to control the population," she said.
AWAD also provides assistance to all animals in need. "We recently tended to ostriches, parrots, ducks and monkeys. "We are trying our best to improve animal welfare in Abu Dhabi," Susan added.
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