Helping those affected by bushfires in Taree

During the fires in November, Animal Welfare League NSW CEO Mark Slater traveled to the Mid North Coast to get an understanding of the bushfire crisis. Mr. Slater went to help at a property located 30km down the end of a dirt road, with no services, the back fence still on fire, with power lines down and cattle walking around.

“The owner of the property lived there on her own and was wandering the paddock with nothing but the clothes on her back. She lost her companion animals who ran into the house to take shelter but were burned to death. The fires were so fast and intense, there’s nothing they could have done,” said Mr. Slater.

Seeing the devastation first-hand, the Animal Welfare League NSW Mobile Vet service was deployed on Tuesday 26 November 2019 to have its inaugural run to the Mid North Coast to assist those who had been affected by recent bushfire and to provide disaster relief by treating injured animals.

The AWL NSW Mobile Vet service parked for two days at Taree Showgrounds where we provided free health checks, vaccinations, microchipping and first aid. The AWL NSW veterinary team, which also included President of the AWL NSW Board Dr. David Hope, also traveled to Hillville, Old Bar, Wingham and surrounds to treat pets and livestock with respiratory problems and injuries and burns from the recent Wingham fires – including Fred the horse who injured his leg from fleeing into a fence.

AWL NSW Veterinarian Dr. Sophie Baron, who led the team at Taree, treated a young Kelpie named Jess who had burn wounds on a front leg. Jess’ owner has lost their home in the bushfires and with the help of AWL NSW, she was able to be rehomed to a loving new family.

“Jess barely made it, took refuge in a dam with her owner who lost her home in the fires. Jess needs a new home after her owner lost their uninsured house in the fires.” – Dr. Sophie Baron.

Dr. Baron and AWL NSW President Dr. David Hope also visited a property affected by bushfires and tended to burnt hooves and injuries – also offering castrations to young bull calves to help those doing it tough, affected also by the drought in NSW.

The Taree community was thankful to have the Mobile Vet service at the Showground, with the Show Society volunteers offering assistance to the AWL NSW team where they could. Despite their exhaustion and weariness, the volunteers had done a wonderful job at operating the evacuation centre for those in need at Taree, and AWL NSW is also thankful for their hospitality during our stay.

At the end of the visit, the AWL NSW vet team had treated mainly livestock which had shown signs of burns around their hooves and feet from attempting to flee hot, fire-affected properties. The Mobile Vet service also enabled the team to have the supplies and equipment on hand to treat animals and provide free veterinary services to dogs, puppies and even a cat who was brought in.

AWL NSW’s Mobile Vet service is purpose-built to provide first aid, disaster relief, and some minor surgeries. The vehicle has 35 large cages, consult and surgical tables, an isolation room and equipment to house drugs and perform blood works.

AWL NSW would not be able to run these important community programs without the ongoing support of kind and generous donors. If you can, please consider supporting this cause, any donation no matter how small is appreciated. Donations can be made online, by calling AWL NSW on 02 8777 4461 or via PayPal here.