Vet nurse deals with feral cats and dogs in The Gambia
PUBLISHED: 08:34 08 January 2016 | UPDATED: 08:34 08 January 2016
A veterinary nurse who helped to neuter 118 cats and dogs during a fortnight's volunteering trip to The Gambia has described the experience as "fantastic" and is already planning her next trip.
Sarah Grace Hutt, the head veterinary nurse at the Goddard Veterinary Group in Well Street, South Hackney, travelled to the small West African country with a charity called GambiCats, which regularly carries out neutering projects in the country.
Like many African countries, The Gambia, has a huge problem with stray dogs and cats and many suffer injuries or are killed inhumanely because they scavenge for food and are feared to carry rabies.
Based in a small town called Farrafenni on the north bank of the river Gambia, Sarah worked with a team of two vets and the founder of the charity.
Three Gambians helped them to catch and restrain the animals, as well as translating for them.
They also spread the word to local villagers so they would bring more strays to the clinic - a small room transformed into a surgery, with a sink and two office desks which became operating tables.
Sarah said: “It was challenging as we worked very long days in temperatures of more than 35 degrees and in basic working conditions with nothing like the facilities we take for granted here.
“We were also dealing mainly with feral and stray animals instead of owned pets, it made it a big contrast to my normal work - and I loved every minute of it.
“Dealing safely with feral animals does take some getting used to and we had to be careful but the dog catchers were really experienced and were a great help.”
She continued: “I really enjoyed meeting the local people and it was rewarding to know that we were helping to reduce the problem of stray animals.
“I learnt that it is possible to do my job well even in the most basic conditions and it was very clear how important the work of GambiCats is in helping to relieve the suffering of so many animals.”
Vet nurse Sarah Hutt
Sarah dealing with an animal in Gambia