With the support of the GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) and veterinarian Dr. Kristen Decina, the Palau Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), in partnership with the Ongedechuul System of Conservation Areas (OSCA) Office, conducted a Pet Health & Wellness Clinic this past Friday, May 7th, for the residents of Ngardmau State. This community outreach event was one of the activities under a GEF-SGP Project that PAWS started in 2018 looking at bird biodiversity and the role of feral cats. A community meeting was held on Wednesday, April 28th at the Ngardmau Bai to brief community members on the upcoming wellness clinic and present results from the household surveys conducted back in 2019. The surveys indicated the vast majority of survey respondents would like a pet wellness clinic to come to Ngardmau.
During the community meeting, Dr. Decina gave a presentation on basic pet care and how improved care of our pets can improve public health, public safety and even help safeguard our environment and biodiversity. She emphasized that the root of the feral cat and dog overpopulation problem in Palau stems from the uncontrolled breeding of owned and unowned animals. The solution to this is ensuring pets are spayed and neutered – sterilization surgery to prevent them from making babies. Pet sterilization is something the Ngardmau State Government is considering as a policy measure for tackling this problem. Dr. Decina shared that there are many benefits from getting dogs and cats spayed and neutered including lower levels of aggression, less roaming, and reducing risks for some types of cancer, as well as protecting Palau’s unique biodiversity.
The Pet Health & Wellness clinic was held last week Friday, May 7th from 3pm to 6pm at the Ngardmau Bai. The first ten animals who came in for their medical checkup were able to have a free spay/neuter in the future. Numerous volunteers worked alongside Dr. Decina and the PAWS team, and the clinic was a huge success. A total of 22 dogs and 6 cats were seen at the clinic and received free medical checkups and vaccines and dewormer, as well as flea & tick medicine. PAWS hopes to continue conducting Pet Health & Wellness Clinics in other States for interested communities. PAWS would like to thank OSCA, Ngardmau State and Dr. Decina for their collaboration in this important project.
PAWS is a Palau NGO whose mission is to improve animal welfare in Palau by providing services and resources for animals, working with the community to change attitudes and behaviors, promoting responsible pet ownership, and advocating for humane animal welfare policy and legislation. The PAWS clinic is located at the TNO building, Topside and is open on weekdays from 10:30-2:30 to sell worm medicine and flea & tick prevention, as well as assist with scheduling surgery appointments. Please call 775-PAWS (7297) for more information.