NELSON MANDALA BAY, SOUTH AFRICA– South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay, the metropolitan municipality comprising the city of Port Elizabeth and its surround urban centres, has made history by implementing the first mass sterilization of dogs funded by the metropolitan authority.

The municipality approved a budget of a quarter of a million rand (about 19,000 US dollars) to sterilize dogs in an attempt to curb the ever-growing population of dogs in the city. Beneficiaries were dog owners from disadvantaged backgrounds in keeping with municipal by-laws in the city that state it is illegal to keep a dog which has not been sterilized.

Vets from around the Eastern Cape Province worked to put hundreds of dogs under the knife and 200 dogs were sterilised with a further 480 set to follow.

The Animal Welfare Society in Port Elizabeth drove the project. Dog loving owners who could not previously afford the procedure, welcomed the effort and made all sort of contingency plans, like putting them in wheelbarrows, to get their drowsy pets home after the operation.

Dog Owner Gcumani Mncam said: We don’t have this type of facility in our community so it’s a big help to us.

The municipality aims to approve more funding in the next two years so this project can be sustainable.

But for now, it’s the mayor who is proving to be man’s best friend.

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip said: I know it costs a lot of money for a person to have an animal sterilized, well over a 1,000 Rand. Many people cannot afford that in the city. They have different diseases, all sorts of diseases. So we will find more money for this initiative to assist people who love their animals so to keep control of the number in the city.”