A substantial grant from The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust has enabled the Fethiye Mobile Clinic to become operational again writes Perihan Agnelli.
Madame Jeanne Marchig, the founder of the trust (who sadly died recently), was a formidable benefactor of Animal Welfare and known throughout the world. Her Trust continues to help animal projects under the stewardship of Mr. Les Ward, the Chairman of the Trustees.
I approached Mr. Les Ward with an outline of my desire to re-start a Neuter and Return project to those towns and villages where no permanent veterinary service is available, using a Mobile Veterinary Clinic and a team of vets and a driver.
In 2003 I had been given financial assistance from The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust and other international sponsors to purchase a purpose-built vehicle fitted out with operating tables and equipment and this vehicle has travelled as far as the Princes Islands off Istanbul over a period of 3 years. In 2010 I transferred the financial responsibility of the Fethiye Animal Centre to the Fethiye Municipality. I also donated the Mobile Clinic and other assets to the Municipality
I am extremely grateful to the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust for once again being our sponsor for this second round of our Mobile Clinic Neutering program.
I approached the Fethiye Mayor and the Regional Governor who were both very enthusiastic and helpful about this program.
The Mayor has authorised a complete service and replacement of parts to the vehicle to make it roadworthy once again and it is now registered as an official government vehicle, 48 HL 172.
The Regional Governor obtained the protocols and agreements when the Mobile Clinic leaves the boundaries of Fethiye Region to work in any other Region. The Mayors of these towns will have to agree to undertake certain arrangements before we start to neuter their stray animals and the Regional Governor has been invaluable in getting these agreements official.
The financial side of the program is under the control of FETAV and the grant from the Marchig Trust has been transferred to their account. All payments for medications and veterinary salaries are made from FETAV whose Director, Mrs. Dilek Dincer, has been most helpful. The funding is for a period of 6 months from the time we start the program, hopefully on 15th September, and after such time we will review a possible further period.
At the moment we are training 3 qualified vets in special neutering techniques, including key-hole surgery, by our resident vet, Mr. Emre Kangal whose work has been essential for the Animal Centre. He has already trained over 200 vets that have come to our Centre from all over Turkey.
Municipalities of the towns in Fethiye Region where we wish to travel have already been contacted and informed of our program. They are very enthusiastic of our support but have the responsibility to collect their stray animals and have them brought to the Mobile Clinic for operating, following which they must agree to return them to the street and not a compound as the whole success of a Neuter and Return program requires that neutered animals return to their territory as quickly as possible (where key-hole surgery is vital).
Not only will we undertake neutering and vaccination of the animals but I will hold education meetings with the public on how they should look after their animals and why neutering their private animals are also necessary. We have printed various education documents and posters to further explain why neutering is so essential.
Art and Medicine
The catching of stray animals is an art in itself and our seasoned Fethiye dog-catcher Mr. Cuma Kahraman has caught thousands of dogs over the years he has been with us, also in our first Mobile Clinic program. He will be our driver for the Fethiye Region for this new program and is more than qualified to teach local municipality employees how to catch animals. Cuma is employed by the Fethiye municipality and therefore cannot accompany us as driver outside of the Fethiye Region.
Our plan is to travel along the Aegean coast for which we still need a volunteer driver who holds an E driving licence category and is able to handle and catch animals.
To avoid having problems in other Regions along the way, the Government in Ankara has written to each Region asking them to help us when we arrive in thes
e areas. Ankara Government support is essential to our neutering program.
Another important support for our program is the Fethiye volunteer organisation known as Animal Aid, a group of English enthusiasts who set up their organisation several years ago and are very active with fund-raising and public awareness for animal care. They are very helpful to our Fethiye Animal Centre in providing all our dry food for dogs and cats.
They are extremely happy about my plan to start another Mobile Clinic program and straight away offered to help with whatever is needed for the vehicle.
They have already purchased 4 sets of operating tools and a sterilisation unit for the Mobile Clinic and have offered to help with the collecting of dogs, and cats, for neutering and I am very grateful for their support. I would be happy for some volunteers to accompany our Mobile Clinic whilst we travel in the Fethiye Region.
I am looking forward to starting this program and as we progress I will keep you informed.