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In impoverished communities where traditional veterinary services are often unavailable, starving dogs and cats give birth to litters of offspring that cannot be fed. Illnesses go untreated. And the pain of these pets adds to the suffering of their owners.

IFAW's Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) program brings new hope. CLAW provides desperately needed veterinary services to dogs and cats, as well as vital animal care education to pet owners in some of the world's poorest communities. Since its start in 1999, CLAW’s team of veterinarians and local volunteers have treated, vaccinated, and provided spay and neuter services to sterilize thousands of pets.

Pets are always there for us when we need them. Loyal and steadfast, they are an endless source of unconditional love. And for many in the world's most disadvantaged communities, a pet is all a person has.

But pets suffer from poverty the same way their owners do. Without the means to provide proper care, pets can be vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and abandonment. Dogs and cats in developing countries are particularly likely to suffer from neglect and poor health.

Imagine having to stand by helpless to provide for the companion animal you love. Yet that is exactly what many in the poorest communities must face everyday.

A New Hope for Pets and Owners

Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) began ten years ago with Cora Bailey’s one-woman crusade to personally provide basic veterinary services to one South African township. Now CLAW works to bring free and low-cost spay/neuter services, veterinary treatment, and animal education to the poorest communities in the world.

Since its inception in 1999, CLAW's mobile teams of veterinarians and community volunteers have treated, vaccinated, and sterilized thousands of pets. CLAW also provides other mobile services such as flea dipping, de-worming, emergency care, adoption services, humane euthanasia, pet education, and community awareness events.

The welfare of these animals is intimately linked to the welfare of the communities in which they live. CLAW programs are culturally sensitive and network with other community-based organisations to help provide an improved quality of life for the people and communities in which they work.

Many human-aid charity groups have recognised CLAW's holistic non-exclusive approach, and CLAW’s extended network is improving the lives of thousands. CLAW distributes food parcels, facilitates a home-based care programme to teach people how to care for the sick and dying, runs food gardens, supports child-headed households and helps communities access health and hospice care.

Copyright 2012 CLAW. All rights reserved.

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