January-July 2001

STOP PRESS! New telephone numbers for Dodou Bojang!
The arrival of digital technology has meant Gambians updating their mobile phones. Dodou's new number is 900756. He has also moved and his home phone number is now 462184.

APPEAL FOR FUNDS

1. Despite the generosity of our supporters we need to continue to appeal for funds if the successful programme which has been started is to continue and be extended. We still have too many reports of unwanted cats and dogs being poisoned, netted, dumped or even shot by hotels - some even by hotels which cooperate with GambiCats! If we are to increase our presence and influence and work to prevent such cruelty and suffering more funds are needed urgently.

This extra funding would be used to increase public awareness of animal welfare through literature, talks and posters step up liaison with hotel managements and restaurants work with the new Veterinary Council to establish an ethical statement with regard to animal welfare work with the Department of Livestock Services to implement humane control in the hotels

In order to achieve this another member of staff would be needed together with funding for publishing literature. 

2. SUMMER FEEDING 

Once again we need to help feed the cats during the rainy season. Many hotels and restaurants closed in April this year, and will not re-open until mid-October. In the meantime we will be feeding two times each day at 3 or 4 sites to ensure that the cats stay healthy. Because of the leap in the price of local fish we have decided to use tinned and dried cat food which will be more expensive but easier to leave for the cats. (We will make sure that water is available). Fuel costs have also risen making transport more expensive. However, we are lucky to have received the support of the Alice Noakes Trust which will give a significant boost to funding the cost of the feeding programme.

We hope that this additional feeding will help to prevent the problem of unwanted cats coming into the hotels which remain open. We were already aware of additional cats at Bungalow Beach during our visit in May. Tragically last summer a number of these extra cats were caught and "removed" by the hotel management. This summer we hope to avoid such a situation even if cats have to be caught and re-housed temporarily by GambiCats. 

ONGOING WORK

Cats

Our first priority this year has been keeping up the monitoring and trapping of cats at existing hotels and the new commitment at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Banjul. The RVH has kept Dodou and the trappers very busy as the new cats are difficult to trap and the journey to and from Banjul means extra time and fuel costs. However we have received a number of compliments from visitors commenting on the improved condition of the hotel cats which demonstrates the effectiveness of the programme.
What you can do: 
-write to the hotel manager complimenting them on the good condition of the cats
-let us or Dodou know if you find a cat problem at a hotel
-don't encourage cats to come into restaurant and bar areas
-suggest that the hotel provides a Cat Cafe - the only one which has done so is the Kombo Hotel and it has proved very successful

Dogs
The second priority has been responding to requests to help beach dogs. Although we still lack the veterinary facilities near the beach as well as manpower to monitor the dogs, we help whenever we can. We would like to thank the concerned tourists who have alerted Dodou, and have generously contributed both money and their holiday time to helping.
 
While we are not able to undertake major veterinary help, our experience has shown that it is worthwhile to carry out the following treatment:
on-the-spot medication such as cleaning ears, cuts, giving worm tablets etc; castrating dogs which are easy to handle examination of dogs who are in a poor condition and subsequent euthanasia if necessary anti-rabies shots for dogs who have not already been vaccinated as part of the Beach Dogs programme

What you can do:

report sick beach dogs to Dodou - he can liaise with the most appropriate vet who knows the dogs and their past history don't feed around beach beds or beach bars near hotels dog biscuits can be bought at mini-markets and are easy and hygienic to give never encourage dogs into hotel grounds

Clinic
We have now spent some time examining the possibility of building a facility comprising a clinic/operating theatre together with small reception/office area plus 2 or 3 runs for animals recovering from surgery. The Clinic would be constructed in Dodou's compound to take advantage of the security of his family already living there, and the benefit of his own veterinary experience in looking after animals.

The Clinic would be also available for vets to carry out neutering of female dogs and procedures where it is necessary for the cat or dog to be monitored and taken care of for a few days. It would not be used as a sanctuary. Basic facilities such as an examination table, instruments for neutering, sterilisation equipment, weighing machine as well as water and power would be available for the vets to use. Drugs would normally be provided by the vet.

We are now preparing requests for funding this project and have already received one generous private donation which has enabled us to purchase a generator. This is essential as the Gambian electricity supply is erratic and uncertain and is unlikely to improve in the next few years. 

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN MORE INFORMATION, OR WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CLINIC PLEASE LET US KNOW. THE ESTIMATED COST WILL BE ABOUT £8,000.00 FOR MATERIALS, PLANNING FEES, PROFESSIONAL FEES AND LABOUR. NOT TOO HIGH A PRICE TO PAY TO HELP RELIEVE THE SUFFERING OF MORE ANIMALS - BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP TO BRING IT TO LIFE!

EQUIPMENT FOR VETS IN THE GAMBIA

We brought back lists of veterinary equipment from 3 vets in The Gambia who have been working with us since 1998. The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare generously donated £1000 and the Veterinary Times kindly published an appeal which we include with this Update. 

If you know of any vets who you think might be able to help with provision of supplies and/or equipment please let us know and we can copy the appeal to them. 

THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE WELFARE OF ANIMALS IN THE GAMBIA (AWAG)
We are happy to report that the Treasurer, Kawsu Jatta, is now out of hospital and mobile once more after his car accident (see Update 5). The Committee continues to meet and urge more hotels to support the GambiCats' programme.


NEWS OF GambiCats' COORDINATOR DODOU BOJANG

A number of our supporters have now met Dodou and seen him in action with the cats and dogs and we thought you would be interested in knowing a little more about his experience. Dodou comes from Gunjur in the south of The Gambia and has the usual extended Gambian family including 9 children of his own. The most recent is a boy born in 2000 and named Peter in honour of our Chairman!

Dodou went to Technical School and, after working at the Medical Research Council went to the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) at Abuko first as a Livestock Inspector then promoted to Livestock Assistant. He spent 12 years with the DLS and gained an enormous amount of knowledge in the care and handling of agricultural animals as well as dogs and cats. Much of this time was spent up country working alone in very difficult conditions.
Eventually, with virtually no prospects in the DLS, Dodou decided to move to the tourist sector and between 1987 and 1998 worked in hotels and for tour operators in positions of considerable responsibility. This was how we met him and lured him away to be responsible for GambiCats in 1998. What a happy meeting! 

Dodou's care for animals resulted in him becoming Coordinator for the Dutch Animal Health Care programme as well as the Secretary of the Kindness Club of Africa between 1976 and 1987. 

As is obvious to all who meet him, his skills and compassion are vital to our work, as is his willingness ('Mr Eveready') and his commitment - his favourite refrain is "the struggle continues".

THANK YOUs

Our major benefactor continues to be SPANA and we would like to say a big 'thank you' to their Council and to Jeremy Hulme their Chief Executive, who have generously agreed to continue our core funding. Without SPANA's contribution GambiCats would have to cut back its work significantly and would be unable to help so many cats and dogs.

We would also like to thank the Alice Noakes Trust for their continuing support especially for the additional feeding which is desperately needed during the summer months when so many hotels are closed.

Other organisations who continue to help us include Bayer, Monarch Airlines, Battle Hospital, Galbraith, Keevil and Gleeson Vets, Priory Vets (Cardigan), NCDL and the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH).

There are also many individuals who have given us advice, funds, taken out much needed worm tablets and other supplies, and generally provided the support which we appreciate so much.

If you would like more information about us please complete the form below & return it to:
GambiCats Parc Llwyd, Aberporth, Cardigan, SA43 2DU, UK
tel: (00 44) 01239 810595 fax: (00 44) 01239 811193
email: gambicats@aol.com

YES I WOULD LIKE TO HELP GambiCats

I enclose a donation 

Please send more information

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REGISTERED CHARITY NO 1074870