SAVA-CVC (South African Veterinary Association Community Veterinary Clinics), established in 1998, supports registered veterinarians to provide sterilisations, primary veterinary care and education to low income pet owners who can’t afford commercially priced veterinary services. The veterinarians donate their time and services and SAVA-CVC assists by providing the medical supplies to ensure that owners only have to pay a small amount toward the treatments. The COVID-19 lockdown restrictions implemented in South Africa have been particularly devastating for the most vulnerable communities. While donations to SAVA have decreased significantly during this time, the need for assistance in the lower income communities has dramatically increased. During the pandemic SAVA-CVC has implemented activities specifically to assist these low income communities. They launched the ‘Adopt A Covid-19 Pet Project’ and to enable individuals to sponsor the treatment, food and/or sterilisation of a pet owned by a family in need.
The Scheinberg Relief Fund provided match-funding for more than 300 sterilisations within SAVA-CVC’s ‘Subsidize A Pet Sterilization Project’, as well as funding over 1,500 vaccines for dogs. The SRF stepped-in when a donor dropped out to provide bursaries for 9 students from low-income communities to study and obtain the Animal Welfare Assistant (AWA) Diploma from UNISA and for 162 AWA students to complete the 1-month practical training at one of the SAVA-CVC clinics required for the completion of the Diploma course. Without this training they cannot graduate and obtain the qualification. Animal Welfare Assistants are a vital component of SAVA-CVC’s efforts to educate and support low-income communities to improve the welfare of animals in their communities.