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Four months ago, our partner group- SAWS met a working donkey and his owner on the way to one of their clinics. The donkey was extremely thin and had many visible injuries on its back and legs. After the SAWS’ clinic team examined the donkey, they realized that the donkey needed immediate relief Therefore, the clinic team advised the owner to take off the pulling cart and allow the donkey to heal and rest. SAWS gave the donkey owner some money to survive for the 8 days his donkey was not working. They also gave him medication and instructions on how to use the medication plus money to feed and water his donkey

Recently, they met up again with the owner and his donkey. When the SAWS’ clinic team reexamined the donkey, they realized that the donkey still had terrible wounds and was thinner. He was pulling 200 litres of water and straining under the load. They told him to take off the pulling cart immediately and took the donkey to the nearest police station as evidence of animal abuse. The police chief and other police officers were genuinely infuriated and the police chief ordered for the donkey owner to be arrested. Although the donkey owner’s whereabouts is still unknown, the police chief vowed to arrest him and bring him to justice.

SAWS and the Attorney General will take the donkey owner to court so that this case will be a deterrence to other donkey owners.

This case demonstrates the inhumane condition that working donkeys endure on a daily basis in Somaliland and many other areas of the world.

One of SAWS priorities now is urgent training on making saddle packs to protect the spine of donkeys. The current ones are poorly made and badly fitted causing severe injuries to donkey's backs.

SAWS thanks Animal Aid Abroad who are the only charity supporting them to conduct these medical clinics for working donkeys in their area of Somaliland.

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Somaliland Update: SAWS Mobile Clinic Update for February

The SAWS donkey mobile clinic, supported solely by Animal Aid Abroad, treated 143 donkeys in the month of February. Working donkeys were treated for equine lung worm which is a major parasite of donkeys living in urban areas. Many donkeys are infected early in life from feeding on garbage because they don't have access to proper feed and nutrition.

SAWS Feb2017 3Other treatments included- trimming of hooves, treating body wounds especially on backs due to inadequate harness materials and vitamin injections for weak donkeys.

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Recently, the Brooke East Africa team visited SAWS donkey clinics and commended them on their work and gave advice on proper handling of donkeys. Dr Ali and his small team play a very important role helping many hundreds of working donkeys who really do it tough in this region of Africa. 

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In Somaliland, working donkeys provide an essential income resource and the people in the poor communities are highly dependent on these animals, the donkeys are often owned by people who belong to the poorest segment of society, which results in that the animals are forced to work hard without adequate welfare as feed, water, veterinary treatment and appropriate loading, consequently, the working donkeys in the areas suffer from multiple welfare problems.

Even though the donkeys’ helpful contributions to the people in rural and urban centers, on other hand, the donkey is the most neglected animal and has a very low status, Many of the working donkeys in rural are owned by poor people the animals needs are often ignored, these donkeys are forced to work in harsh environments without sufficient feeding and appropriate harnesses, When their health deteriorates and they are unable to work, they usually abandoned and left to die,  due to this, the trend of abandonments in both rural and urban areas continued to increasing with donkeys left to fend for themselves on garbage sites, roadsides and in remote bushes.

A significant part of SAWS programs include mobile Vet clinic for donkey which supported by Animal Aid Aboard,  which aims to provide free treatments services to donkeys both in Rural and urban areas.

We have dedicated clinic staff, they provide free regular treatment to working donkeys and our priority is to provide relief on donkey pain. The clinic team is well equipped and devoted to achieve high quality of basic veterinary treatments for working donkeys by using locally available medicines as much as possible.

Cases Treated
No. Treaded Ailment Treated Donkeys Treated Horses Treated Goats
1 Overgrown Hooves  41  1  4
2 Malnutrition   23    
3 De-worming   51    
4 Skin wounds   32    
Total  147  1  4

The mobile clinic has conducted donkey outreach clinic mission for 4 days in Baligubadle, Gunburaha and Qoolcaday villages in rural to improve the health of donkeys through provision of free veterinary services, SAWS rented pick up vehicle and took clinic team with drugs and other supplies.  A total of 147 donkeys, one horse and 4 goats were helped and treated with various diseases in Baligubadle, Gunburaha and Qoolcaday villages 63km, 45km and 30km respectively from Hargeisa, the clinic team has made visit from home to home in order to reach and treat every sick donkeys, as we have seen, every nomadic family have owned between 5 to 10 donkeys.

“It was wonderful when we met abandoned donkeys with overweighed hooves on Gunburaha village, these donkeys were couldn’t to walk, their legs being almost to broken, the owners were left when they became overgrow foots and no longer to work, the people in the area do not know how to cut or trimming the overweight hooves”.

Donkeys were the only means of transportation of pastoral and agro-pastoral families, most of donkeys had wounds on tails, back and neck whilst they working. 

SAWS clinic is the only  free donkey threatening clinic in the areas, the most treated   cases were hoof abnormalities or overgrown hooves, de-worming, malnutrition and variety of wounds  as results of poor harnessing, During in the treatments, clinic team gave awareness and information to owners about how to care for their donkeys and focused on protecting the donkeys with pack saddles while working,  there are hundreds of working animals whose owners do not have the knowledge and skills about proper welfare of their animals in rural areas.

The main welfare problems recognized were hoof problems, because the nomadic owners do not know how to trimming the overweight hooves, weak body conditions and back injuries; it was common to treat sick and wounded donkeys with traditional therapy which could deteriorate the welfare of the donkeys, To improve the conditions for the working donkeys, it is important to enhance the knowledge of the owners and to improve the status for these animals.

One of the Owners we met told us that, the importance of donkey and said, every families of us depend on their donkeys for survivel, and can be devasted  if their donkeys are ill or injury and unable to get water and food, there is many of misunderstanding about how to best care and treat animal, in some cases, traditional treatments can cause more suffering to working donkeys, it will take a time to change owners’s attitude to understand roots of injuries on animals to prevent future suffering.

The clinic would be continued its outreach operations to treat donkeys in rural settlements to provide free vet treatments to donkeys in need to reduce the pains and health problems in the area. People who lived in this area were amazed when they saw treatment of donkeys, they were asked us many joke questions related to donkey treatment, they were believing that the donkey has no treatment, they said it was the first time ever to see or heard the organization involving the welfare of donkeys,   It was good news for the working donkeys as they have been living in suffering at all times in rural areas. 

The scale of donkey welfare challenge in the area is great due to negative attutude and primative perceptions towards donkey, we are optimistic for the future, but our donkey mobile clinic has made considerable progress in helping donkeys to improve their current welfare, and  could be  benefited for working donkeys and the livelihoods of their owners and families. 

The people who owned treated donkeys were so appreciated for the free veterinary care and were pledged to care their animals, the village elders were very impressed donkey mobile clinic assistance provided and they requested to continue to help working donkeys in the area as they suffer lot of mishandling while working. 

On behalf of SAWS, I would like to thank to Animal Aid Abroad for their generosity support to the Donkey clinic which treats hundreds of suffering donkeys in the both urban and poor rural areas with aim to improve the living conditions of working animals in Somaliland. 

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somalia dec16 7In Somaliland, like other African countries, donkeys are overworked and are not provided adequate feed and treatment. They work under extreme conditions in all weather. Very poor harnessing and incredible loads cause ruthless injuries and pain.

Donkeys are the only means for poor people to earn money.

In order to improve donkey health and welfare, Social and Animal Welfare Service [SAWS] together with Animal Aid Abroad [AAA] conduct regular mobile donkey clinics in the Hargeisa region and its vicinity. The aim is to improve the lives of forgotten donkeys by provision of free vet services and help to address proper donkey welfare practices and create caring behavior towards donkeys.

In December the donkey mobile clinic offered medical help and treatment to 202 donkeys. In addition, another important part of clinic work was to educate donkeys‘ owners on better welfare practices of their animals.

Since AAA started its fund to help and treat forgotten donkeys in Somaliland, hundreds of working and abandoned donkeys received free vet treatment and their health status has improved, Animal Aid Abroad project has made substantial impacts on health of donkeys in Hargeisa region. AAA is the first International animal welfare charity who intervened to the donkey welfare crises in Somaliland and took remarkable support for improving donkey welfare, treatment and education.The local authority and local people are very grateful for the assistance Animal Aid Abroad has given their donkeys.

Animal Aid Abroad will continue their assistance in 2017 to improve the lives of hundreds of vulnerable donkeys in Somaliland.

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A total of 42 working donkeys were treated in the month of June. Common cases treated were skin wounds caused by poor harness materials and de-worming. The owners of treated donkeys welcomed and appreciated the free vet care provided for their animals and requested to continue this vet care. The clinic team also provided education to donkey owners regarding proper welfare of their animals.

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