Thank You and Good Luck to Maki and Nicodemus, QwaQwa.

Maki Telane and Nicodemus Mahlohla, residents of QwaQwa, have become regular faces at the Cluny Animal Trust outreach clinics in Phuthaditjhaba. Each plays a vital role as assistant to Jan Sander, our Animal Welfare Assistant.During this year, 2016, Maki and Nicodemus, fresh out of school, turned up at the State Vet’s Office in Phuthaditjhaba, both expressing an interest in animals and hoping to find a way to gain access to careers that involved animals.

The happy result of this initiative of theirs enabled them to start working on a part time basis with the Compulsory Community Vets stationed at the State Vet’s Office, where a general animal health clinic operates. This enabled both Maki and Nicodemus to gain some hands on experience with small animals, mostly dogs and cats, and their subsequent transition to the Cluny outreach programme was facilitated by the CCS vets.

Maki’s role is to register the arrivals of clients and their animals at the clinics, to complete relevant forms, and to ensure that any criteria are met and the clients have an understanding of what to expect. The focus at these clinics is largely on sterilizations and on vaccinations, especially for rabies, as QwaQwa has been experiencing a high level of rabies cases.

Nicodemus directly assists Jan Sander. The work entails the handling of animals, especially dogs, and liaison with owners, often at the homes of owners in advance of their visit to the clinic. This is often rough work, as some of the dogs are large and aggressive and require skilled handling.

Both Maki and Nicodemus live in Bluegumbosch, a settlement on the Harrismith side of Phuthaditjhaba, where they completed their schooling at the Seotlong Agricultural and Hotel School in 2015. They have both subsequently made application to study Agriculture and were required to upgrade their Maths, which they have been doing at the Tshiya Academy in Phuthaditjhaba. They now await their results.

However, the good news is that in the interim both have been accepted at Agricultural Colleges. From 2017 Maki will be attending the Glen Agricultural College outside Bloemfontein and Nicodemus will go to the Taung Agricultural College near Vryburg in the North West Province.

They are both delighted with the prospect of going away to College, but would like to continue to work with the animals in Phuthaditjhaba during their holidays. We wish to thank them for their contributions to the Cluny Animal Trust outreach programme in QwaQwa and we wish them much happiness and success in their future studies.

Text and photos by Mary Walker
19 December 2016

The Richards Bay Project

Next weekend the Mobile Operating Theatre will be in Richards Bay. This is a very exciting development for Cluny Animal Trust. We are seeing it as the first tentative step towards achieving a goal established by the Trust several years ago when the Mobile Operating Theatre build was first commissioned.

A feral cat colony sterilization clinic near the Caledon River between Fouriesburg and Clarens ~ photo by Mary Walker

The plan was that the Theatre would service the Eastern Free State region where Cluny is domiciled, using funding raised by us and by our faithful volunteers and donors. In addition to this, the Theatre and the Cluny Team would provide a service further afield, on request. The understanding would be that the recipient of the service (the client, if you like) would undertake to arrange the outreach logistics themselves and raise funds themselves to cover the costs incurred by Cluny in the course of its delivery of the service. In this way the Trust funds for local work would not be used.

A sterilization outreach clinic in Bohlekong, Bethlehem ~ photo by Mary Walker

We are well into our second year of running the Mobile Theatre and have travelled away from our local area only to attend WODAC shows, twice in the Midrand and once in Pietermaritzburg. It was at the latter show that a Richards Bay resident approached Cluny in the hopes of resolving a feral cat problem in Richards Bay.

It is well known the world over that the sterilization of dogs and cats is fundamental to successful animal welfare interventions. The USA, behind the initiative of mass welfare sterilization campaigns since the 1990s, have convincing statistics showing a significant decrease in all forms of animal welfare interventions, especially euthanasia, in keeping with a parallel increase in sterilizations.

Feral cat and kittens rescue, sterilizations and rehoming, Clarens ~ photo by Mary Walker

Our assignment in Richards Bay is for the purpose of mass sterilizations in three different feral cat colonies. Uncontrolled breeding of cats in feral colonies leads to a host of problems, both to the neighbouring communities and to the colony cats themselves. Cats lose condition quickly in overpopulated colonies, becoming emaciated and more susceptible to disease. These diseases spread easily to domestic cats in the surrounding areas. Controlling the inevitable breeding in the colonies and ultimately reducing the number of colony members through natural attrition is the incentive behind such programmes as this.

The concerned citizen from Richards Bay, who approached Cluny, has taken on all the arrangements for this project – a huge task! She has arranged funding to cover all the costs, has organized accommodation and meals for the Team, will provide several volunteers and is arranging the trapping of the cats prior to each day’s clinic at each of the three locations.

The route that the Mobile Operating Theatre and the Cluny Team will take to Richards Bay ~ image from Google Earth

The Mobile Operating Theatre and the Cluny Team will be leaving early on the morning of Thursday 1 December and will arrive in Richards Bay late on the same day. Three days have been set aside for sterilizations, one day at each location. The return to Fouriesburg is scheduled for Monday 5 December.

Dr Katherine Barker sterilizing a dog in the Mobile Operating Theatre (the official veterinary name is Mobile Surgical Facility) ~ photo by Mary Walker

Cluny Animal Trust’s veterinarian, Dr Katherine Barker, expresses her gratitude to the State for providing and funding, for the duration of this project, the services of a CCS (Compulsory Community Services) veterinarian from Qwa Qwa, who will be joining the Cluny Team.

We will post accounts of progress and pictures to our Facebook for the duration of the Richards Bay assignment.


Text by Mary Walker

Keeping Our Dogs Out of Trouble

A few days ago I reposted an article published in by Mariette Steynberg titled “No Pets Allowed” onto the Cluny Animal Trust Facebook page.  This article deals with the increase in pet-unfriendly residential properties for sale and rent in South Africa and the corresponding impact that this has on the abandoning of pets and the filling up of animal rescue centres.  Clearly there is a perception, especially in more affluent urban settings, that pets potentially pose problems for neighbours and landlords, leading to the escalating trend of the outright banning of pets.

So what is it that we are doing, or not doing, that is giving pets a bad name and causing pet-owning families to struggle so much in the rental and property markets in certain areas of South Africa?

Shared from Rainbow Warriors South Africa on 27 October on Cluny’s facebook page.
During my time abroad, where I spent over nine years in London, I was struck by the pet-friendliness of the United Kingdom – especially where dogs are concerned, who are my main focus in this article.  Even in the most built up areas, and indeed, in blocks of flats, dogs are often welcome.  But the British, living a more regulated lifestyle than ours in South Africa, tend more readily to abide by the laws, regulations and guidelines that prescribe how dogs should be controlled, resulting in dog behaviour being less likely to qualify as ‘nuisance’ or ‘dangerous’.

Internet Free Images
On returning to South Africa four years ago I was struck by the increase in animal welfare charities, over a mere decade, especially in the areas of rescue and rehoming.  What had changed so much that had brought this about?  Were South Africans merely becoming more aware of the dire need for intervention or was it that the declining economic and political climate had resulted in accelerated migrations to smaller, safer and more affordable dwellings? – dwellings where the keeping of pets is often prohibited!

Are we as South Africans becoming more particular about regulations and standards and thus penalizing those who are perceived to be less compliant – could this include irresponsible pet-owners?  If this is indeed the case, or even just a contributing factor, then pet owners have a role to play in reversing this perception.

Internet Free Images
Most people will agree that out of control dogs can be a problem, especially in urban areas and in the vicinity of busy roads.  Quite apart from incessant barking, mostly as a result of being left alone for long periods, dogs that are able to wander away from their properties unattended because of inadequate fencing or unlatched gates can be a danger to both people and other animals.  Dogs untrained in obedience that are taken for walks in built up areas without a leash, or allowed to run behind their owner’s car in lieu of a walk, can present similar dangers.

It doesn’t end there.  An uncontrolled dog is itself at risk!  There are dangers beyond the garden gate that the owner is not necessarily going to be aware of and being in direct control of the dog while out significantly reduces the risks to the dog.  We all know what some of those risks are – being hit by a car, being attacked by another dog, or being stolen are common examples. There are other risks, and one in particular is uppermost in my mind this week.

Image credit:
Snares!  Vanessa Papas, in an article she wrote titled “Setting The Trap Against Snares”, says, “Like landmines, snares are indiscriminate.”  Anyone who has seen the result of a snared animal will want to prevent such an incident with their own dog at all costs.  The cruel mechanism that makes a snare so effective is that it not only prevents the animal from escaping the snare but also causes vicious injury to the animal.  The loop of the snare, secured across a place where animals are most likely to walk, draws tightly around the animal as it passes through, causing it to attempt to pull away from the danger.  The harder it pulls the tighter the snare becomes, resulting in the panicking animal fighting against it all the more.

Mostly snares are made from wire, copper wire, bicycle brake wire or a thin strong nylon cord and these materials cut into the animal causing extensive damage and eventual death.  Often poachers who have set these snares don’t return to check the snare for days or even weeks, and animals are left to endure a long and painful death.

Image credit:
On Monday our vet Katherine received a call about a dog trapped in a snare.  The owner, having taken the dog for a walk to an area just beyond the perimeter of the town of Fouriesburg, had let the dog off his leash to run free.  After a while the dog disappeared from sight and did not return to the owner, who then went home, believing that the dog would follow or return later, having done so on previous occasions.

By the following morning the dog had not returned.  The owner set out to look for him and finally discovered that the dog was trapped in a snare in the area where he had last seen him.

Photo by Katherine Barker
Bicycle break wire was being used in this snare and the dog’s front leg had been caught.  Unable to release the dog himself, he had called for assistance.


Jan Sander, after some effort to reach the dog by vehicle, used a bolt cutter to cut through the barbed wire fence that the snare was secured to.

Photo by Katherine Barker
With the trap still attached to the dog’s leg, he rushed back to the surgery, where Katherine removed the snare and treated the wound under general anaesthetic.



Photo by Katherine Barker
While snares are set to trap small animals like duikers, hares and other species for the pot or illegal bushmeat trade, numerous other species, including dogs and cats, often end up as the victims, resulting in needless suffering, permanent disfigurement, amputations or death.  Snaring is an ancient and ruthlessly efficient system of trapping and is used extensively across Africa, resulting in an increasing decline in certain of Africa’s wildlife species.  Another dog that is an unintended victim of snares is the African Wild Dog, the most endangered carnivore in Africa.  It is worth clicking on the link below to read the article by Robert J Serata (2012) on the struggle to save these dogs from the devastating impact of snares.

Controlling our dogs, keeping them out of trouble, is both about controlling the risks our dogs pose to others (people, animals and property), and about controlling the risks to the dogs themselves.  In doing so we not only keep our vet bills down and ensure our dogs stay happy, but we contribute to a more favourable attitude generally about pets and pet ownership.  Keeping pets, especially dogs, is an ancient practice in many cultures the world over and, despite the resistance to this from some quarters in society, it is a practice that is not about to go away.  Contributing towards more responsible ways of caring for and taking charge of our dogs must surely be a step in the direction of securing a more welcoming future for them in our society.

Photo by Mary Walker
If you have any concerns about snares, or come across a snare or snared animal in the Fouriesburg or Clarens area, please contact Jan Sander on 0782462553.  He will either assist you, advise you, or put you in touch with the right person.  Please remember, snaring is not a legal form of hunting or trapping – it is poaching, it is cruel, it is decimating our wildlife, it’s a fearful danger to our pets – therefore, you are encouraged to remove or disable any snare you might come across.

Text by Mary Walker – 30 October 2016

Cooking for Cluny





1       Potjie cooks must provide their own heating, potjie pot (MINIMUM SIZE 3), table and seating for their own use, shelter, if required, all ingredients, and serving spoons.  If you have a fire extinguisher, please bring it with you.

2       If you cook your potjie on gas instead of wood or charcoal, a minus two (-2) vote penalty applies.  Side dishes may be cooked on gas.

3       FIRES ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE GRASS, so you will need a braai or fireproof base on which to cook.

4       Ensure that you complete the registration form, and sign the indemnity. No more than FOUR (4) people to a team – meaning cooks.  (Cheer squads are not included!)

5       Please provide a sign which states the name of your team, and what potjie you are cooking.

6       Cooking starts from as early as possible and you must be ready to serve your food at 01.00 pm – AT THE LATEST.  You may NOT pre-cook the food.  If you do a minus two (-2) vote penalty applies. 

7       There will be a starch table available; however, should you like to provide your own starch/side dish you are welcome to do so.

8       Cluny Animal Trust will sell tickets for the tasting and individual servings.  Remember – the tasters determine the winner.  We shall provide customers with all they need to partake of their food.

9       Last but not least, HAVE FUN, BE SAFE, AND MAY THE BEST COOK WIN! 




OR CALL 078-246-2553






TEAM NAME: __________________________________________________

POTJIE NAME: _________________________________________________


  1. Name: ___________________________ Ph No: ___________________
  2. Name: ___________________________ Ph No: ___________________
  3. Name: ___________________________ Ph No: ___________________
  4. Name: ___________________________ Ph No: ___________________

In consideration of acceptance of my entry, for myself, executors, heirs, administrators and assigns, I do hereby release and discharge the organizers of the Cooking for Cluny competition, and all its sponsors, any and all voluntary groups, all medical personnel, any and all authorities from all claims for injuries, damage and property loss I may suffer, caused by negligence of any of them and arriving out of my participation in the event, including pre- and post-Competition activities.

I am physically fit and sufficiently trained to participate in this event and assume all risks for participation.  I accept all rules, conditions and regulations of entry and will comply with them.  I also grant my permission to Cook for Cluny and its authorized agents to use my name, photograph, video tape, broadcasts, telecasts, advertising promotion or other account of this event free of charge.

I have read the above release and waiver of liability and fully understand its contents.  I voluntarily agree to the terms and conditions stated above.


FULL NAME: __________________________________________________

DATE: _______________________

SIGNATURES: _____________________ __________________________

_____________________________ ___________________________________

(If under 18 years of age parent/guardian signature is required)

Offering Hope in Deprived Communities

This wonderful photo has already been widely admired by so many of our Facebook friends, and depicts a typical day at the office for Jan Sander. The image was captured just moments before Jan discovered that the dog’s collar was embedded in the dog’s neck.

Photo by Arthur

Without the work that Cluny Animal Trust does in indigent communities, and indeed without the work of other similar animal welfares, these types of horrors would be left undetected and untreated.

Photo by Arthur

The dog underwent surgery and the embedded collar was removed. After his treatment he was returned to his owners. Jan provided a proper collar for the dog and gave instruction to the owners about appropriate care.

Photo by Arthur

Although the dog had been on a chain and running wire, which is deemed illegal in many instances, Jan reported that the dog had been well cared for in other respects, and had access to food, water and shelter.

Photo by EM Walker

This week Jan has run an education clinic on the subject of the chain and running wire. While Cluny Animal Trust does not promote the use of chain and running wire, it is in reality a much used method for restraint of dogs by many owners. Cluny therefore hopes to educate those who continue to use this method about its dangers and how to minimize any discomfort and risk to the dog.

Photos by EM Walker

It is often true that poverty and ignorance go hand in hand. It is Cluny’s Mission that neither poverty nor ignorance should prohibit the delivery of care to animals in need.

It is Dr Katherine Barker’s belief that it is only through access to care, and through the witnessing of the results of right care, that the beginnings of change can be seeded in communities too deprived to know better. She believes that hearts remain hardened when there is little hope and no alternative to the all too conspicuous suffering of animals in and around deprived areas.

Photo by EM Walker

Cluny’s offer of affordable pet care presents this hope in deprived communities.  Jan Sander encourages children to gather at his weekly clinics in Mashaeng (Fouriesburg), Kgubetswana (Clarens) and Bohlokong (Bethlehem) where he is able to informally educate whilst at the same time administer preventive measures against parasites and other conditions to the pets brought to the clinic. He believes that the changes in appropriate pet care that we strive to achieve in our indigent communities will undoubtedly start with the children.

Text by EM Walker 7/10/16

A Short Bio of the Governor

There have been quite a few rehomings lately, both dogs and cats going to their forever homes after a period of fostering at Katherine’s house.  But sometimes one discovers that home is right here, right where one already is – and one such lucky fellow is Aswell McFatterson.  I’ve come to see him to find out how he’s doing.  He’s taking his usual nap, but he condescendingly agrees to talk to me:

FullSizeRender (3)“I suspect you notice that I have a very grand name.  Well, rest assured, it befits my distinguished position here as governor of this establishment.  But let’s go back a trifle to my days in Clarens, where it all began.

You see, I’ve always had an interest in the hospitality trade.  So it was not entirely unexpected that I should turn up at a guest house in Clarens.  Of course, I merely sought apprenticeship and was happy to go without remuneration, although I did appreciate the daily rations.  So I was somewhat taken aback by the owners of this establishment being awkward about my being there.

It seems that arrangements were made behind my back, without the courtesy of dialogue, and virtually overnight I was whisked off and found myself engaged in an entirely different vocation.  Security!  Have you ever!  Security at a Vet Practice in Clarens.  Not my line of work at all – but I did comply for a few days!  Then I discovered that she (the Vet) was there for only two or three hours a day, so when she left – I left.

It wasn’t very difficult to find another occupation that better suited my interest.  Right below us was another guest house, and I took it upon myself to undertake quality inspections of the bedrooms.  I ask you! – what exactly is the problem with testing the beds?  You can hardly expect your guests to lie down on sumptuously adorned bedcovers without first having tried them out yourself.

Once again I was whisked away.  This time I heard the words ‘rehome’ and ‘forever home’ and wondered what new disastrous outcome awaited me.  After a most undignified journey in a box I found myself in what I can only describe as a menagerie.

FullSizeRender (2)That was a good six months ago.  And here I still am.  I have never discovered what was meant by the ‘rehome’ and ‘forever home’ remarks that I overheard, but they appear not to have been applied to my situation.  Instead I quickly found myself appointed to the noteworthy position of: Governor of the Establishment, Vet Practice, Fouriesburg.

I have never been given a proper job description for my position here, but I imagine that my superior experience and mature disposition have led them to understand that I am quite capable of determining requirements myself and fulfilling the role in a professional manner.

She (the Vet) is also here much of the time, as well as several others.  I am not sure what their roles are, but they do succeed in clattering about and making themselves look busy – which, of course, can be a bit tiresome when peace and tranquillity are more conducive to napping.

I generally maintain a dignified distance from the other characters that reside here.  I heard it said once that the shepherd should not drink at the trough with the sheep.  I employ this motto in my own work ethic with good results.  Donna, though, is inclined to think that she is boss.  Apparently one of her parents was a Great Dane.  She is monstrously big, but I don’t let that affect the upper hand I have.  In fact, she relieves me of much of my work pressure by dealing with the petty squabbles herself.  Her bearing when she towers over one of the others, doing her growling routine, is intimidating.  Not to me, of course!  She has great respect for me and avoids passing by me too closely, and for good reason.

Then there’s Basil.  He’s a silver-grey tabby and a nice fellow really, but gosh! – not the brightest in the pack.  He’s certainly half a loaf short of a slice of bread!  He always seems busy, on his way somewhere or on his way back from somewhere.  I doubt, though, that he ever remembers after two seconds of starting off what the purpose of his errand was.

I cannot possibly name all the characters here.  It is a menagerie after all, and I can barely keep track of all the comings and goings.  My main priority is to maintain my position as governor, and thus far I go unchallenged.”

FullSizeRender (1)Aswell settles down to nap.  But I badger him.  “What about Mommy Cat?” I ask.  He yawns and stretches and settles down.  “What about Mommy Cat?” I repeat.  “Who?” he smothers into his paw.  “Mommy Cat!”

He can’t avoid the question really.  He must respond, he knows.  “Mommy Cat..” he manages to utter.  “Yes, Aswell.  Mommy Cat!  Tell me about her.”

“Mommy Cat is old.  She’s old and small and frail.  She’s been here forever.  Since the beginning, they say.  Even before the whole establishment started, she was here.  Everyone is scared of her.  Even Donna is scared of her.”

“Are you scared of her, Aswell?” I ask.  He looks away.  “She packs an evil punch,” he whispers into his blanket.  “Who’s boss, Aswell?” I ask.  “Who’s really boss of this establishment?”

“Mommy Cat, I guess.”  He hides his head under his arm, feigning sleep.  I leave him so, distracted in his thoughts of Mommy Cat.


Text and photos by Mary Walker

8 June 2016

Why Sterilize?

Why should you support the sterilization of dogs and cats?


The answer is simple.  It significantly reduces suffering and it significantly reduces the animal welfare bill.

A huge proportion of cats and dogs in our region, and indeed across the country, do not have homes, and many that do have homes are inadequately cared for.  Two factors contribute to this undesirable situation.  The first is the uncontrolled breeding of cats and dogs.  The second is a widespread ignorance about appropriate animal care.  The combined effect of these two factors is the extensive suffering of cats and dogs that we witness regularly in our communities.

It is for this reason that Cluny Animal Trust, a Community Veterinary Welfare, focuses primarily on the sterilization of cats and dogs, and on advancing specific and appropriate knowledge and skills about animal care in our indigent communities.

Increase sterilizations, decrease euthanasia!

There are a large number of NGOs throughout the country whose focus in the animal welfare arena is on rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming.  This is an extremely difficult and costly task, as there are too many animals that require this service and too few homes that are in a position to adopt or are appropriate for adoption.  As a consequence many animals remain in foster environments or in kennels for years with little hope of finding forever homes.

In the USA annual statistics have been maintained on the impact of the mass sterilization programmes that have been expanding across the country for the last two to three decades.  The statistics show an encouraging decline in the euthanasia of dogs and cats in direct relation to the increase in sterilizations.


At this year’s World Spay Day sterilization clinic on 23 February in Bohlokong, a township adjacent to Bethlehem, Cluny Animal Trust was faced with a typical dilemma and one that encompasses the factors that contribute to the suffering of dogs in particular.

A large plastic bucket containing 11 tiny puppies..

An elderly township resident arrived at the clinic with a large plastic bucket containing 11 tiny puppies, and a mother dog in tow.  She was attempting to sell the puppies, which were between two and three weeks old, to Cluny Animal Trust.  She said that the puppies from previous litters had died before she could sell them.  She was resistant to the suggestion that she consider having the mother dog sterilized.


Poverty contributes enormously to animal neglect and cruelty.  There is still a strong belief in township communities that selling puppies is a potential livelihood.  Even if the puppies survive and are sold, these owners do not have the funds to pay for vaccinations or parasite control, and as a consequence contribute to the spread of diseases, as well as to the costs of animal welfare.  Furthermore, these animals are often more susceptible to contracting diseases due to compromised natural defences through malnutrition.

The difficulty Cluny Animal Trust faces when dealing with cases like the above is that intervention cannot legally take place without the consent of the owner.  The owner and the veterinary welfare often have conflicting objectives and, unless there is a case with sufficient weight to report to an authority like the local SPCA, the owner’s rights stand.  In this case the owner took her puppies and the mother dog home, which was the appropriate action in the immediate circumstances, as the puppies were still dependent on their mother’s milk.  Jan Sander, Cluny’s Animal Welfare Assistant, took down details with the intention to follow up on the case, hoping for at least an agreement to sterilize once the puppies were weaned.

Sterilization is the easy part

clunyster3Sterilization is the easy part in the work of Cluny Animal Trust.  Gaining consent to sterilize is a lot more difficult.  Due to Cluny’s limited impact on Bohlokong township thus far, in comparison with Kgubetswana and Mashaeng in the Clarens and Fouriesburg areas where clinics have been operating for a number of years, the poor turnout for sterilizations at Bohlokong on World Spay Day was not surprising.  Although 60 sterilizations were planned for and additional funds raized provided for another eight sterilizations, only 22 sterilizations were carried out on the day.  This was not a direct reflection on the work done at the clinic on the day.  Many more potential clients were either approached or came to the clinic of their own accord.  This contact and interest by residents is vital, giving Cluny personnel the opportunity to engage these individuals and start the process of creating awareness around the welfare of township dogs and cats, with specific focus on sterilizations.

Due to the fact that funds for another 46 sterilizations were still available after the clinic, Dr Barker made the decision to use these funds for sterilization-specific clinics to be held at Kgubetswana, Mashaeng and Qwa Qwa in the near future, as well as at a second clinic in Bohlokong.

In addition to sterilizations and education, Cluny also attends to injured and ill animals on a welfare basis, and runs clinics for parasite control purposes, which include dipping for ticks and fleas, and deworming.  Vaccinations are also given.


Interested in adopting a dog or a cat?

Although Cluny Animal Trust is a Community Veterinary Welfare, and not a rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming welfare, there are occasions when it falls to Cluny to rehome animals that have come into their care.  Please look at the website and facebook page if you are interested in adopting a dog or a cat.

All Cluny’s work is dependent on donations, sponsorships, bequests and fundraising events.  For further information, or if you wish to donate, please go to the website or facebook page, or contact Cluny as follows:

Dr Katherine Barker:  0827886287

Jan Sander:  0782462553

Office:  0582230918



text & photos by Mary Walker, 13 May 2016

Finding Her A Home

She had waited for over a month for someone to take her. Before that she had been homeless, regularly turning up at the Cluny property in Fouriesburg. It had seemed as if nobody wanted her.

Rebecca waiting for her forever home while being cared for by Cluny Animal Trust.
Rebecca waiting for her forever home while being cared for by Cluny Animal Trust.
In September we ran a post in Facebook about a delightful young cat looking for a home. A friendly, affectionate and playful cat, she had clearly been someone’s pet before an unknown event caused her to live on the streets. Cluny Animal Trust had taken her in and kept her safe, fed and cared for, until finally her fortunes changed.

Rebecca after her adoption.
Rebecca after her adoption.
In late October Margy Wilson came forward and offered her a home in Clarens. She now has her own name, Rebecca, her own home to live and sleep in, and she even has a sister, Leah, to play with.

Every now and then Cluny has an animal, a cat or a dog, that needs a new home, and this is a time when Cluny depends heavily on the generosity and kindness of local residents.

Cluny Animal Trust was established in 2011 as a Veterinary Welfare. This followed on from the voluntary sterilization work that Katherine Barker, our veterinarian, had been doing for years in the area. When Katherine first arrived in Fouriesburg from Cape Town in 2001 she discovered a colony of feral cats living behind her practice premises. These cats had been drawn there by scraps of meat offcuts from the butchery next door.

Rebecca's sister Leah.
Rebecca’s sister Leah.
That’s where it all started. One by one Katherine trapped and sterilized every member of the colony. Sterilization of cats and dogs is a cornerstone of animal welfare. The plight of unwanted and homeless animals brought about by uncontrolled breeding results in many of the animal welfare issues encountered within communities, and also contributes to the spread of diseases. In accordance with a growing pro-life ethos in animal welfare, intervention by sterilization is critical.

For this reason Cluny Animal Trust’s primary focus is on preventive veterinary medicine. The clinics in Clarens, Fouriesburg and Bethlehem run by Jan Sander, Cluny’s Animal Welfare Assistant, are complimentary to sterilization campaigns. These are also preventive interventions, focusing on parasite control, immunizations and early detection of contagious conditions like mange.

Another necessary aspect of preventive intervention is education. When Cluny Animal Trust was established in 2011, education in responsible pet ownership was identified as an integral component of its mission.

While Cluny was not established as a general animal welfare, the responsibility of rehoming of animals does from time to time fall into its lap, and our local residents who come forward to offer homes are a godsend to Cluny.

Rebecca reclining in her new home.
Rebecca reclining in her new home.
Margy Wilson is a Trustee of Cluny Animal Trust and a regular and loyal volunteer. Cluny is enormously grateful to Margy for providing Rebecca with a safe and loving home. Leah, Rebecca’s new sister, is also a rescue cat adopted by Margy.

If you wish to make a donation, please see the details below:

Bank: Standard

Acc No: 035278846

Branch Code: 055 033 (Bethlehem)

Please quote reference: CFRCAT

You can email your proof of payment to .

Article text by Mary Walker. Photos by Mary Walker and Margy Wilson.

Preventable Diseases In Dogs And Cats


PARVOVIRUS (Cat Flu – Katgriep)

This highly contagious disease of dogs, usually under 1 year of age, has symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, severe depression and dehydration.  The name “Cat Flu”, is a misnomer, as there are no “flu” symptoms and it is a disease of dogs.  Parvovirus can be caught from any direct or indirect contact with a sick or early recovered dog.  This is a frequently fatal disease and should be treated as soon as the symptoms appear.  It can be a protracted process, usually involving hospitalisation, intravenous fluids, and numerous medications, and may still ultimately end in death.

DISTEMPER (Hondesiekte)

This often fatal disease usually occurs in two distinct phases.  Initially, there is a fever, with a runny nose and cough, which can proceed to a decrease in appetite, diarrhoea and vomiting.  This clears up and the dog appears normal for the duration of a few days to a month.  The dog then develops “nervous symptoms”, such as fitting, muscle twitches, paralysis, blindness, followed by coma and then death.  This disease is spread by inhalation of infected particles (as with flu) or by close contact between dogs.   The dog should be given supportive and antibiotic treatment as early as possible, in an attempt to prevent the progression of the disease, unfortunately this is often unsuccessful.


This disease can vary in severity from a mild fever, resulting in liver damage to a fatal disease.  It can be spread from a sick dog, by contact with its urine, or by indirect contact – that is if someone touches it, then touches a healthy dog.  The early symptoms include fever and coughing, followed by jaundice, seizures and terminal coma.  Although this disease is not common, if contracted, it usually results in death.


This disease is not usually fatal, but in young dogs, it can cause runting, stunting syndrome.  It is spread by inhalation of infected air particles, and also by dogs which are in close contact with one another.  Clinical signs include a copious nasal discharge, fever, tonsillitis and a non-productive cough.


This is a fatal disease, which is spread by biting, licking of fresh wounds, scratching and by splashes of infected fluids, into the eye or mouth.  Mere contact offers no risk!  The incubation period (that is the time taken from exposure to the clinical signs) is anything between 15 days to six months.  There are two forms of Rabies – the “Furious Form” and the “Dumb Form:, both starting as a dramatic change in behaviour.

Furious Form”          Depraved appetite, salivation, inability to swallow, biting and chasing moving objects.  This is followed by paralysis and death.

Dumb Form”:           Rapid depression, salivation, paralysis and death.  Once symptoms start, there is no known treatment

It is important to note that all mammals, including man, are susceptible to Rabies.




This is a flu-like disease, which can result in fatalities in very young cats, and in cats which stop eating. This is as a result of not being able to smell their food.  A cat’s sense of smell is very important when it comes to eating.  If a cat cannot smell its food, it won’t know that it is food, and to them, it would be like chewing on cardboard.  There are numerous causes of Snuffles – viral, bacterial and protozoal (a multicellular organism).  The Calici Virus (viral) and Chlamydia (protozoal) are the most dangerous, and these are the two against which we vaccinate.


This is the cat equivalent of parvovirus.  Clinical signs are fever, diarrhea, persistent vomiting and dehydration.  This disease can be spread by direct contact between cats and by flies and fleas.  This highly infectious disease is frequently fatal.

All these above mentioned diseases are preventable.  A simple series of vaccinations, from 6-8 weeks of age, for puppies and kittens, and a yearly booster, will protect your pets from the disastrous consequences of contracting these illnesses.  By law, a yearly Rabies vaccination is required, but although the other diseases are not “controlled”, it is advisable to prevent these too.







Theatre on Wheels

She was delivered in May this year. For the last six months she has become a familiar sight in the Clarens and Fouriesburg area. Striking white with blue and mauve logos, a great rectangular van with powerful engine that makes her sound like the business, she displays upon her forehead, in understated lines, her unpretentious name. Daisy!


The Cluny Animal Trust Mobile Theatre and Clinic was manufactured by Michael Vermeulen of Centurion Bus Manufacturers. Michael has built a number of similar Mobile Units for the state veterinary sector in accordance with standards set by the South African Veterinary Association. When an anonymous donor provided funding to Cluny Animal Trust specifically for a mobile veterinary unit and Katherine, our veterinarian, approached Michael, he turned a dream into a reality. Not only did he provide a very reduced quote for the job, but during the build he knocked another R120 thousand off the cost. Cluny, being a Non Profit Organisation, would not have managed this without Michael’s generosity.

Mobile Operating Theatre

allhandsWhile there are other NGOs and Public Benefit Organisations in South Africa that own Veterinary Mobile Clinics, Cluny Animal Trust is the only one that owns a Veterinary Mobile Operating Theatre. The Mobile Theatre and Clinic is designed and equipped to facilitate the receiving of animal patients on site, caging them before and after surgery, and carrying out the necessary surgical procedures, all in a controlled and sterile environment.

theatretablesThe theatre has two stainless steel operating tables that are fully adjustable, both in terms of height and angle and, in the case of both tables, the design is such that a ‘gutter’ runs along the middle of the table for the purpose of catching fluids, which are then eliminated by flow into a receptacle below the end of the table.

anaestheticmachFor now the theatre has only one anaesthetic machine. This is a hindrance when there are two vets, as only one can use the anaesthetic machine, while the other must use the intravenous method where the anaesthetic is administered through a vein. This necessitates the presence of a nurse who monitors the level of anaesthesia and might need to ‘top up’ the drug during surgery.

Animal Cages

cliniccagesThere are a total of nine cages in the clinic for animals brought in for surgery – four small, three medium and two large. The two large cages can be divided into two smaller cages when necessary. Each cage has a removable stainless steel tray at its base to catch fluids. All the cages are accessed from inside the clinic, and the two large cages can be accessed from the outside as well.

Most outreach clinics cover an entire day so, once an animal has recovered after its anaesthetic and the owner has taken it, the cage is made ready for the next animal. A large number of animals can thus be processed in one day.

Outside the Clinic

entrancesThe clinic has two entrances, one on the left side and one at the back. Both have metal steps and handrails, which can be stowed away on brackets on the inside when the vehicle is in transit.

awningOn the right hand side of the vehicle is a retractable awning. This is where the Animal Welfare Assistant normally does routine procedures like dipping of dogs. He might also use this area for clients to fill in forms for registration purposes, as the awning provides shelter in all weather. In high winds, however, the awning will automatically retract to avoid damage.

Other Clinic Features

scrubupThe clinic is designed to take care of all requirements. There is a sink where the clinicians can ‘scrub up’. The vehicle has a large tank that holds 250 litres of water, as well as a used water tank. Water is heated by either an electric geyser or a gas geyser. In addition, there is a cubicle with a chemical toilet and hand basin.

clinicadminThere is plenty of storage space in the clinic for veterinary disposables, equipment and drugs, as well as a small fridge that runs on either electricity or battery. The clinic is also equipped with a standard surgical trolley. There is also a large counter where various clinical procedures or administration can be done, and compartments where files, clipboards and paperwork can be stowed.

The Vehicle

clinicgeneratorThe vehicle is a secondhand Nissan UD60 6 tonne truck, with a brand new custom designed back on an extended chassis. Built into the left side just behind the passenger seat is a 6.5 horsepower petrol generator, which stows away into its compartment when not in use. The clinic can operate on either mains electricity or on the generator.

Partnering with Other Animal Welfares

clinicbundusTo date Cluny Animal Trust has used the Mobile Theatre and Clinic in the Fouriesburg, Clarens and Bethlehem areas. However, the Trust plans to partner with other animal welfare organisations further afield to carry out mass sterilization clinics. This will not be done at the cost of Trust funds. The Partner Organisation will be responsible for raising the funds associated with the clinics, to cover the travelling expenses of the vehicle and the veterinary and other costs of the clinic. In this way Cluny Animal Trust will be contributing to a wider animal welfare drive without depleting its funding in the area of its current domicile.

Donors, sponsors, supporters and members of the public who wish to view the Cluny Animal Trust Mobile Theatre and Clinic are always welcome to do so. Please contact us to make an arrangement or, alternatively, come to one of the sites where the vehicle is parked during routine clinics. For more information, please phone Katherine Barker on 0827886287, Jan Sander on 0782462553 or the office on 0582230918.

If you wish to make a donation, please see the details below:

Bank: Standard

Acc No: 035278846

Branch Code: 055 033 (Bethlehem)

Please quote reference: CFRCAT

You can email your proof of payment to .

Article text and photos by Mary Walker