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December '10

We started off the last month of the year with moving 6 donkeys into Walmer township, and on arrival at the office, found that Matsipha had had her foal. He, Willie Wonka, had a bit of a rare genital problem, but this was sorted out chop chop with Vet James instructions and Liezl’s ministrations. He, Willie Wonka, grows prettier every day!

We referred to the NMMM Animal Control inspectorate a problem of stray horses on somebody else’s property and causing damage. As there is a Municipal Bye Law about keeping your animals in, the matter was handled expediently and no further problems have been reported. Of course it helps if you own property is properly fenced in the first place! As the saying goes, good fences make good neighbours!

3 donkeys adopted out were moved to their new home and so far so good with their new vocation in life. With a state of the art cart and our own home made harnessing, I am sure it will succeed.

Sailor donated all his Birthday money to the Unit – quite a popular fellow because he gave us his all his Christmas money gifts too! Such a clever horse! Two horses surrendered to the Unit were comfortably settled in the new Girl’s Camp. They are both available for adoption, preferably together.

Two of our boys, Percy and Duke, were adopted out and, thankfully, settled down into their new environment very quickly, after a bit of a leg stretch canter.

Our Top Gear has moved in with Caramel and they can be seen often grazing together having accepted each other.

Things were moving along quite nicely until a phone call was received from Hankey to say that they had been directed to the Unit by the SPCA because the man had a donkey in his front yard with a very bad wound on his leg. Stanley and Liezl went off and collected the boykie, and yes, the wound was bad and had obviously been there for quite some time. Treatment commenced immediately as it appeared to be a really bad rope burn, but come Monday, the leg had shown no improvement – which is when I took him off and asked for an X-Ray because to me it looked like a dislocation?! You know the rest of the story as you were sent an email of the Xray clearly showing a cable snare wrapped tightly around the pastern. This must have been extremely painful as with every move the snare would not stretch and would ‘bite’. The snare was immediately removed under sedation and from then on, improvement was seen, including the start of the correct use of the leg from the sacro iliac down where a lot of muscle atrophy had occurred. Jody was subsequently fostered out to a sheep farm and we have received photographs of him in his new home.

A Complaint attended to involved a Thoroughbred that had been ‘dropped off’ by a Trainer as a companion animal to another horse but that the original horse had been taken away and now the landowner had to move and had been unable to find anyone to take the horse over. The horse was duly collected and signed over to the Unit, and I believe he will be going to a new home shortly, which I am happy about because he is really a gentle chap and deserves a good home.

A tearful bride who was having difficulty with getting a wedding horse and carriage arranged, was pointed in a possible direction.

A lame working donkey was found to have a 1cm screw stuck into the cleft between sole and frog and which was removed with pliers supplied by a Tow Truck driver! The donkey was subsequently brought in, treated with poultices and returned to the owner. The owner had another donkey that was lame and when Ayanda cleaned it up, a piece of wire was found embedded in the sole. (The township ‘roads’ are not all they are cracked up to be!) Thanks to generous donations of tack, many people came in to buy themselves Christmas gifts of second hand riding gear.

The Kwazakhele owner of the two Cart Horses in the Girl’s camp prevailed upon a friend to bring him to see his ‘children’. He was quite happy to sit in the car for a long time and watch Socks and Britman interacting with the other horses and donkeys.

On returning to assess the horse with slipper hooves with Treloar, we were lucky enough to meet the family of the deceased horse owner and they agreed to the euthanasia of the animal, which we undertook to do as soon as possible. They were very thankful for the intervention by the Unit and as they have more horses, they were happy to know whom to contact in the future and were given a business card for this purpose. I returned with the Game Park a few days later and did the necessary. Difficult and far out of town, but with the assistance of the Kragga Kamma Game Park, a doable.

A lot of the Unit work involves education about equines. This includes officials who are concerned about horses being ‘rugged up’ or ‘standing with a horseblanket on’ in the middle of a hot day in Summer. It was a simple thing to do to explain that the rugs/horseblankets are lightweight flysheets or sweat sheets to protect the skin of the animal. This is not the first time the comment has been received from members of the public about how ‘we’ treat our equines!

We were sent off late on a Friday afternoon by the SPCA Uitenhage, to Kirkwood to see to a horse that had been ‘knifed in the genitals’. After a bit of discussion with the owner of the animal, we found that the foal at foot was 3 weeks old. Which is when we had an ‘aha’ moment.
Clearly this was not a knife wound, but the foal, being a big one (and very pretty at that), had probably torn the mare at birth, and then three weeks down the line when she came into ‘spring heat’, the local stallions had worsened the wound in serving the mare. All ended well with Vet Hilda doing a clean up and repair job and the mare and foal were duly returned to Kirkwood.

The Stanley Street Festival organizers had requested two donkey carts to do duty on a Saturday morning and in due course, two carts, four donkeys and two drivers were uplifted from the Unit and taken to Stanley Street where they spent some hours taking children on rides. The Carters were paid handsomely for their labours and returned to the Unit later in the day by the organizers.

With a little assistance from the Vets, a colicky horse was treated and made a full recovery in the middle of nowhere off Mission Road in the middle of the night.

A complaint received was attended to and we found that Boesman and his latest girlfriend were hanging about outside Admirals in Walmer – for breakfast?

Aside from a plentiful supply of cut grass and splendid donations of Lucerne, oathay and grassmix from across the city, we were blown away by the donations of donkey bits. This was arranged by Kirsten Rohrich and as each donkey bit was sponsored, a nametag with email address was attached to the bit. This made it very easy for me to say Thank You to the donors.

Well done and Thank You, Kirsten, and to the 16 donors who made their contributions!

The AACL decided to have a Christmas Party for the children of Kleinskool and requested a Carter to assist with bringing Father Christmas to the ‘do’. We put them onto Isaac who had a whale of a time doing the job, if the pictures are anything to go by!

Yet another electrocution occurred. First we had to bring the orphan Kleintjie in and then go back for the carcass of her jenny, Meisie. Kleintjie is settling slowly in the Girls camp with all the mommies and aunties and other kids from the ‘hood.

Thanks to Treloar and her mum, who had had some Unit branding made, we had a presence at the PE Riding Club in Lorraine who were hosting the SA Junior National Championship. She also garnered a fair amount of donated fodder and feed from departing riders and a number of riding mummies were happy to purchase Treloar-made horsey soup mugs, plates and pottery ponies, for which the Unit gets commission. Well done and thank you to Treloar. I finally got to watch some of the Championships on the final day.

Of course, this whole month, as with the previous two months, African Horse Sickness vaccinations have been the order of the day. One tries so hard to arrange it to save petrol and time and to suit the recipients (both equine and human), but generally it does not work - we just do the best we can. Currently we are doing the ‘mopping up’ of the ‘tail end’ which amounts to over 200 equines done with both I and II. Again, problems have been found, but not that many, and mostly easy to fix. And the wonderful thing about doing the vaccines is that ‘new’ horses are found and good communication with the owners established.

And then Michelle & Teneille arrived and gave every single donkey and horse a thorough grooming, spending an entire day doing the job. They really did a good job. Thank you!

Clearly, the school and work holidays this month have meant that tack rooms have been cleaned out as well as the barn, because we have been lucky to receive both tack and fodder galore. Thank you all so much.

We collected 2 donkeys at 10pm off Circular drive with the assistance of Vet Charles, the SAPS and the NMMM Traffic Department. Unfortunately someone appears to have taken the cart!

The yearly staff Christmas lunch was held again at the Kragga Kamma Game Park. After a nice drive where we ‘found’ the buffalo and the endangered Rhinos, we had a lovely meal and returned back to the office to put the kids to bed.

Our staff all pulled together this Christmas Season and because of this, everyone has had some weekend time off. Thank you to the staff for making it easy for all of us.

We finished the month off by receiving on behalf of the AWS, a vast assortment of pet food that was used as a cap fee to participate in a fun event held in Theescombe. On behalf of the Animal Welfare Society - Thank you to all competitors and Carol!

Well that brings us to the end of December and already we are running around with problems in January!

Some pictures have been added to the Galleries on the website which you are welcome to look at.

We wish you a good 2011!