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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Help the Street Animals of Morocco (HSAM)

Mother cat and her kittensInternational Animal Rescue has twice assisted with the treatment of cats and dogs in Morocco by a group of local and foreign volunteers. The initiative was led by vet nurse Claire Sedgewick. She has produced a report describing their work.

HSAM was formed in 2006 by Claire Sedgwick and Rob White following a holiday in Essaouira, Morocco. With the blessing of the local government and working alongside local vet Adnan El Aji and other local volunteers, we neuter and treat the area's street animals. Visiting the area biannually, we are having a profound effect on the health and wellbeing of the cats and dogs living on the street.

There are countless street animals (especially cats) living in Essaouria. Although the locals are in the main fond of them, many suffer from a range of problems, including fleas, worms, ear mites, eye infections, broken limbs and other medical problems.

On HSAM's second successful visit, a group of 9 volunteers, consisting of a vet, two nurses and six experienced handlers returned for two weeks work. During this period 86 male cats were castrated, 30 females spayed and around 70 kittens were given treatment. It seems we are already having a marked effect on the cat population; a number of locals commented on how many of the male cats were so much more relaxed now and spend their time lazing around rather than fighting over females!

It caused us great concern that Essaioura's dog population is increasing rapidly. Dog ownership is becoming ever more popular amongst Moroccans but unfortunately not always the responsibility that comes with it. As such, many dogs are abandoned and left free to roam and breed. Sadly, mange is an all too common problem and all of the dogs we encountered were suffering from this. In total we castrated two males and spayed four females. During our next trip in Spring 2009, our main focus will be the dogs.

Alongside the vital and immediate work that we do, we have a number of ongoing projects that will ensure that the health, wellbeing and population will be kept under control. These include an education programme for the locals and kennel building for housing the animals postoperatively.

Without the generosity of individuals and groups such as International Animal Rescue, our work would not be possible. Continued support is greatly needed, especially to get our kennel programme underway.

So far, a total of 499 street animals have received our help.

Please contact Claire or Rob at [email protected]