At the start of 2020, Mayhew Georgia was making great progress, with four partner vet clinics on board and preparations well underway to trial a spay and neuter project in Anaklia, a town on the Black Sea coast. Between January and the end of march this year, our team in Georgia neutered 190 dogs and vaccinated 160 dogs against rabies.
Unfortunately, this work was put on pause in March as Georgia went into lockdown. We caught up with Dr Ana Metskhvarishvili, Veterinary Surgeon for Mayhew Georgia, to find out how the teams there have been doing.
Dr Ana: When the lockdown started, our lives changed drastically. We needed to begin working under the rule of only having three people on-site, which means that everything apart from emergency care has had to be postponed. Surgeries are impossible to perform, so we had to suspend the neutering programme. Now [early May], restrictions are slowly lifting and in Tbilisi we are trialling restarting our clinics for TVNR, with social distancing being strictly observed, of course.
Dr Ana: It’s been very heartwarming to see that local people have been working together to take turns feeding the stray dogs in their areas, and I have also heard of people walking long distances with 10kg of food, just so they can ensure the stray animals are well fed.
Dr Ana: I believe that the government would eventually come to an agreement that Georgia needs animal population management; however, I worry about what methods they would use to achieve this. Mayhew Georgia is currently demonstrating a humane and effective way of managing the population and I hope in the future that our work can expand further across the country.
Skilling up local Georgian vets is a vital part of our work. Before the lockdown Dr Ana was providing training for two local vets in Tbilisi who work or volunteer for our new partner clinics, Vet Life and VetEx.
We are looking forward to resuming this important aspect of our work overseas as the lockdown eases.
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