Community based animal welfare – sterilisation, vaccination and welfare education.
Happy healthy communities need happy, healthy animals. The overpopulation of animals such as cats and dogs leads to serious welfare problems for the animals as well as the communities they live in.
According to the CDC, about 2 000 people still die every year from rabies in Kenya. Rabies is usually contracted following an animal bite, especially dog bites. Yet rabies is 100% avoidable if animals are vaccinated, and many countries have eradicated it through comprehensive vaccination campaigns and other animal health measures.
Adding to this challenge is the overpopulation of animals such as cats and dogs across Kenya, but especially in urban areas, where free roaming or stray animals are a common sight. Humane population control, primarily through the sterilisation of animals, is vital for their welfare and to limit problems like the spread of rabies.
KSPCA has long engaged in campaigns of sterilisation and vaccination in partnership with bodies such as the Government of Kenya, the TNR Trust, the Kenya Veterinary Association, the Kenya Small Companion Animal Veterinary Association (KSCAVA) and international organisations also. These large-scale campaigns can be very effective in bringing together resources to vaccinate and sterilise as many animals as possible in an area and can be helpful in raising awareness in the community.
In addition, it is KSPCA’s policy that all dogs and cats that are admitted to our shelters for rehoming are vaccinated and sterilised.
We are also conscious that longer term approaches are needed. We have found that community members care about their animals and would like to be able to provide better care for them, but do not have access to the information and affordable basic services. We are building a programme of community – based animal health care such that in 5 years’ time low-income communities across Kenya will have much improved access to animal health care, that the animal population is humanely controlled, and that humans and animals can live side by side in a healthy and cooperative way. Our aim is that this programme will be built in a way such that it can be replicated to other Kenyan cities and beyond.
How you can help
Lifesaving and live protecting action is money well spent. When we consider that a single female cat can be responsible for as many as 2 million live births in 8 years, we can see that the investment in sterlisation and vaccination is well worth it.
KES 200/= protects a dog against rabies
KES 3 500/= spays a female cat or dog to avoid unwanted babies.
Working equines in Kenya are among the longest-suffering animals on earth.
Donkeys have long been a major support to human livelihoods, with their incredible work capacity being deployed for hauling heavy loads, delivering water and so on. Despite being intelligent animals with some particular care needs, poor services and prevailing cultural attitudes mean that donkeys are often abused and forced to work when they are unable to do so.
Urbanisation and modernisation have seen the number of working donkeys in areas such as Greater Nairobi and Naivasha decline, but at the same time conditions for the remaining donkeys are very poor. Overloading, poor harnesses, lack of care and malicious abuse are common issues.
By contrast, interest in horses has spread in Kenya in the last few years, with horses now a common sight at riding stables, entertainment events and shopping malls. There is no regulation of the use of horses and typically a very limited understanding of the complex needs (and associated cost) of keeping a healthy horse. Owners without experience have purchased horses and stables as investments. However, with inflation and the economic impact of COVID, conditions for the animals have declined sharply and we are dealing with a number of complex cases of extreme neglect and abuse. For example, at one riding school we inspected this year, we judged none of the 14 ponies fit to ride, and yet they were being used daily by heavy adults as well as children.
We are working to fundraise to continue these projects.
Delivery of donkey welfare programme with communities in 10 hotspots in Nairobi and Naivasha for 1 year – KES 13 000 000 or US$ 118 180
Improved stables and paddock accommodation at KSPCA Nairobi for seized animals and emergency medical cases – KES 3 500 000 or US$31 820
Kenya is a land of meat lovers. Nyama choma (roasted meat) is at the heart of our major celebrations and festivals and is part of a typical Friday night out for those of us who can afford it. Goat meat is most eaten for these events, but beef, sheep mutton, pigs and chicken are widely eaten too.
In 2020, as many as 12 million sheep and goats and 2 million cattle were slaughtered for meat in Kenya. Most of these animals were slaughtered in one of the hundreds of slaughterhouses across the country. Some of these facilities are large operators, others small facilities operated by local cooperatives or companies.
Like it or not, the production of animals for meat, their transport and slaughter, is one of the most significant uses of animals in Kenya and the welfare of the animals throughout the process is a major concern for KSPCA.
Kenyan law (CAP 360) prohibits unnecessary suffering during the process and act of slaughter and defines which animals may be slaughtered.
The KSPCA, working with the relevant authorities, has the mandate to monitor the transport of animals and to inspect slaughterhouses to ensure that the law is respected. This is intensive and challenging work. In September 2022 alone, we visited 32 slaughterhouses in different parts of the country. Where issues are discovered, KSPCA raises the problems with the management and the local authorities and follows up to make sure action has been taken.
In addition to our inspections, we are licensed to sell humane slaughter equipment, which is vital to ensure that animals experience as little suffering as possible. We also train slaughterhouse staff to use the equipment properly and repair it in case of any breakdowns.
Our humane slaughter programme relies on the time and expertise of our dedicated inspectors, and the resources for them to spend time in the field.
KES 50 000 supports us to allocate a team for slaughterhouse inspections for a month.
Kenyan law (CAP 360) sets standards for animal welfare, making it clear that animals have a right to decent treatment, including adequate food, water and shelter, medical care and freedom from cruelty, torture, or terror.
Unfortunately, this law is often not respected. Daily, we see cruel treatment. It is not uncommon for us to be called to a house where the occupants have moved out, leaving animals that have been locked inside for weeks without food. We see cases of violence and torture. We are particularly concerned about breeders who want to maximise profit by breeding animals intensively (mainly dogs) in filthy and unhealthy conditions. These dogs are then sold from the side of the road, sometimes drugged, tethered in the hot sun without shelter or water. We see working horses and donkeys being mishandled, overloaded, beaten and abused. Cats who are an annoyance being poisoned or having hot water thrown on them; dogs tied up 24 hours a day on chains so tight they are embedded in their necks.
There is little helpful public education on this issue and there is also limited capacity on the part of the mandated authorities to investigate and prosecute cases. We find that local police and county officials may want to help but are themselves overwhelmed by the volume of work facing them.
KSPCA is at the front line of responding to cruelty cases and our authorised officers are mandated by law to investigate and act.
We will investigate reports received. Sometimes this takes time. In many cases, we find corrective action is possible. If we find that improvements are needed and possible, we will issue a notification to improve, in coordination with the local authorities, and monitor to make sure things get better. However, sometimes the situation is so serious that we will seize the animals and register criminal complaints. It is very rare that criminal complaints are followed up, but we try to make sure that they are, and if we feel it is justified we will also take civil action in the courts.
Education and community awareness is very important, and we include this information in our campaigns and our community work. We are also working to set industry standards and improve regulation of industries such as dog breeding and the use of working horses and donkeys.
KES 500/= feeds a donkey recovering from wounds for a day
KES 1 000/= enables us to rescue a severely injured animal
KES 50 000/= per month supports a cruelty investigator.
Ray was rescued along with 6 other dogs being held for breeding by a security company. They were locked in a filthy cage and there was a dead dog present. They had not been fed for about a month and Ray was close to death. It is clear she had been bred intensively; some of the other dogs may have been her offspring. She is a loving girl whose priority is dinner and tummy rubs. A criminal complaint has been filed. We believe this breeder has many dogs in other locations and the investigation is ongoing.
Every day, animals fall sick or are injured, through accident, misadventure, mistreatment or neglect. Many animals are free roaming, or strays, and have no one to care for them. But even when there are concerned well-wishers, there are very few affordable emergency response services.
In 2021 KSPCA Nairobi alone received more than 6 000 calls to respond to emergencies ranging from donkeys, cats and dogs in road traffic accidents, to birds of prey stunned by power cables, to animals caught in snares or fallen down holes, to cases of suspected rabies, to deliberate criminal injury or neglect.
In addition, our work in communities means that we often come across animals with medical needs that will not be met without our help.
KSPCA is at the front line of responding to animal welfare emergencies. Our small team of inspectors responds to emergency calls as quickly as possible. In most cases, we recover the animals and bring them to one of our centres in Nairobi, Naivasha, Nanyuki or Mombasa, where our medical staff assess the animal’s condition and offer medical care when possible.
Likely the animals will be kept in our medical and recovery facilities at our shelters, and if there is no one to claim them, they will be rehomed when recovered, sterilised, vaccinated and microchipped. If animals have come in from our community work, we return them to their homes if appropriate.
On any given day, there can be up to 800 animals in KSPCA shelters, including dogs, cats, horses and donkeys. Many of these animals need specialist care as well as basics like food, health care, exercise and loving socialisation.
We are very lucky to have a small network of foster carers who agree to take in animals that need special care before they are ready for adoption. Baby animals are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases in the shelter and often need special care. Horses also need expert care. They do best with foster families and we try to avoid keeping them in the shelter if we can.
When ready for rehoming, animals are assessed and advertised through our adoption service. Potential adopters are screened to make sure that we make the right match, and that they are able to care for the animal. Adopters will sign an adoption contract committing them to good care, and the adoption fee helps pay for vaccinations, sterlisation, microchipping and other care.
The emergency response and shelter work are only part of what KSPCA does – we know that lasting solutions include work in communities. But it is a vital part of the work.
Support running costs of our Nairobi vet clinic, ensuring medical care for up to 800 animals housed in shelters in Naivasha, Mombasa, Nairobi on any given day, spaying, neutering, and vaccinations – one year – KES 6 120 000 or US$ 55 636 approx.
Cost of one senior vet per year – KES 1 800 000 per year or $16 363.
Construction of vet clinic facilities in Nairobi – a modernised clinic facility with recovery kennel capacity for acute medical and post-operative care – funding target is KES 15 000 0000 or $136 500 approx. Funding gap is KES 10 000 000 or $90 910 approx,
Essential equipment to equip vet clinics in Nairobi and Naivasha – around KES 1 000 000 or $9 100 approx.
Quarantine and recovery kennels for the vet clinic – KES 5 000 000 or $45 455 approx.
Spay, neuter and vaccination campaign as part of our Care in the Community programme in Nairobi – 300 – 400 animals – KES 1 500 000 or US$13 640 over 6 months – preventing birth of thousands of unwanted animals. The more we can raise for this the more communities we can reach.