Good news. Christie has finally secured official authorisation today for us to go into Dujiangyiang, collect dogs and cats that need help and place a notice on the government bulletin boards and surrounding areas alerting the public that we can help with companion animals wherever required.
We will also be providing a hotline for the public to call should they have pet dogs or cats they can no longer keep and would like to be fostered, and for people to contact us if they see stray animals in the streets.
Christie and Rainbow have been working hard all week to secure free food and vaccinations and have been talking with the authorities in allowing us to work officially in Dujiangyiang. We have now secured 500 vaccinations from Intervet for dogs in the disaster area and are going prepared to meet local vets there to coordinate a rescue programme, which will be highly sensitive to the needs of people and authorities alike. Also, Purina has kindly sponsored more than 200 kg of dog food.
Survivors are sharing tents, often one tent between two families and sadly there are many criticisms that both stray and pet dogs are responsible for a growing number of problems in these areas. The dogs are under severe threat as rumours abound of them causing noise and disease in the midst of people battling to survive. Many officials are sympathetic to the dogs’ plight - understanding that they can benefit a community at a time like this - but sadly many prejudices remain and we must continue to tread carefully.
Now we are gathering medical supplies and equipment and leaving for Dujiangyiang again tomorrow, simply to take homeless and stray dogs and cats away, or to help in securing a temporary home for the companion animals belonging to the families in tents. Whilst there, we will assess the situation, note owners’ details, perform basic medical examinations, vaccinate the dogs, treat for any pre-existing problems and transport the dogs back to Chengdu where they’ll be safe and cared for.
We have already sent food to one Chengdu shelter that has agreed to take the rescued dogs as they come in and are now helping them to build another quarantine area as the likelihood is that we will see more dogs (and cats) over the coming days and weeks.
We can also promise ongoing veterinary assistance as the dogs wait for their families to rebuild their homes and lives. Those left homeless will be given the best care and attention for the rest of their lives.
In the meantime our letters requesting cessation of the culls have gone out in Chinese and English to the officials who continue with this form of dog “control”. We also have written and translated a rabies advice paper for distribution to the authorities and public during our trips to the disaster areas and to various government departments.