For two weeks, six students from the veterinary school in Toulouse sterilize dogs and cats belonging to people from the heights of the West for free. The operation was initiated by the association Renyon viv’ensanm ek zanimo (Revez) and Babylène, the humanitarian association of the Toulouse school. Its president, Quentin Desmaillet, had been struck during a one-year stay in Reunion by the scourge of animal wandering. According to a study published in 2021, at least 73,000 wander around the island, sometimes attacking chicken coops or humans, as was the case last April at La Saline. “It seemed possible to me to set up a project by adopting a preventive rather than a curative approach”, justifies Quentin Desmaillet.
Curb animal wandering in the heights
Sterilization is the ideal way to limit the proliferation of dogs and cats. In the space of 5 years, a couple of cats can give offspring of 6000 felines. A female dog can cause 400 births in three years. “It’s colossal”judge Lysiane Uny, the president of Révez.
The originality of this operation lies in its approach. “The idea was to lift the brakes on animal owners. Some do not sterilize them because they live in the heights and are far from vaccination cabinets“, recalls Lysiane Uny. To remedy this, the students of the veterinary school will themselves pick up the dogs and cats from their owners and then bring them back after the operation. Five veterinary practices on the island have agreed to participate in providing operating rooms.The entire operation is free: sterilization, chipping and any antibiotics are covered.This is the difference with the actions carried out by the various intercommunalities where the owners must pay the microchip, around 40 euros, and medication.
The scope of this approach remains limited. 48 dogs and 97 cats will be sterilized. A figure to be compared to the 2,689 sterilizations covered by the TCO in 2021. “It is a complementary operation to what we are already doing. By focusing on the highs, it will curb animal wandering in areas that we are not used to touching.“says Valérie Lebreton, vice-president of the TCO in charge of animal wandering.
The total cost of the operation, 19,000 euros financed by the State, the TCO and a metropolitan association, is also acclaimed. It would be less expensive than a classic sterilization including the remuneration of the veterinarian. “It’s a win-win. The students learn their trade and there is no competition with the veterinarians”, says Valérie Lebreton.
Sign of the interest in the sterilization of pets, several dozen owners have been placed on the waiting list. The process could be repeated next year.