Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) brought joy and relief to pet lovers in Walmer Township in Gqeberha on Friday (subs:29/04/2022) by vaccinating 542 cats and dogs in a bid to stop spread of rabies.To commemorate the Word Veterinary Day, which is on Saturday 30 April, DRDAR
embarked on a mass rabies vaccination campaign in response to the 812 cases that have been confirmed provincial since January 2021.
Rabies has claimed a total of 13 lives across the province since its outbreak, with 6 lives in
the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Municipality only.One of the local dog owners, Cebisa Magwala who came with her dog at G West Park
expressed joy and relief that there was a vaccination drive.

“I love dogs so much; they make me happy so I wouldn’t want anything to happen to them.I feel great that there’s this vaccination drive by government. We were worried when we
heard about this outbreak of rabies but now we feel protected because our pets arevaccinated,” Magwala said.

Mawethu Campbell said: “I was not at ease at all after hearing about the outbreak. I call onother people to come to vaccinate their dogs and cats so that we can be protected againstRabies. I’m happy that my lovely dog was vaccinated today.”

In Songololo Park, Nomandilakhe Ntetho, whose three dogs were vaccinated inside her yard said she was over the moon as her dogs got jabbed.“I’m very happy today. To see a vet in my home vaccinating my dogs shows how thisgovernment cares about us. I’m an avid dog lover hence this is important to me,” she said.The department also visited John Masiza Primary School to educate learners about rabies.One of the learners, Ibenathi Thobi, 14, said the engagement was an eye opener as shehas lost her dog due to Rabies.

“It is painful to see your dog suffering and you don’t know what is wrong with it. My dogwas aggressive and acted like it was mad but I didn’t know it was suffering from rabies.
Now I know better about this disease that kills and I urge people to vaccinate their dogs,”said Thobi.

DRDAR’s Deputy-Director for Veterinary Services in the Sarah Baartman District and alsoresponsible for the Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality, Dr Lungile Jali said they saw it fitting to commemorate World Veterinary Day by vaccination of pets because of highnumber of rabies infection in the area.

He said 812 cases of rabies infections were reported in the province since January 2021 prompting the department to up the ante by vaccinating 523 836 cats and dogs sinceJanuary.
Dr Jali said Amathole, Joe Gqabi and OR Tambo Districts as well as Buffalo City MetroMunicipality were also affected with the Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality leading the

“Rabies is very serious and we should all fight to prevent its spread because it has claimed13 lives with the Metro leading with 6 deaths. We need to bring these numbers down and
we will win if we have full cooperation from the people by bringing their pets for vaccinations. If a person is beaten by a dog or scratched by a cat, an immediate medical
attention is needed,” he said.

He said the World Veterinary Day was created to appreciate the work done byveterinarians in taking care of the animals.

Tabling the 2022/23 Policy Speech, DRDAR MEC Nonkqubela Pieters said, “animal healthremains paramount in producing marketable and economically viable livestock, for us to
compete is the market we need to ensure that our provincial heard is healthy.”DRDAR has budgeted R44,8 million towards the control and treatment of animal diseases
through procurement of dipping material and vaccines.