Miss Rebecca Dobinson WRD 2023

Description of your work

I am veterinary director of Compassionate Paws International. We organise a biannual sterilisation and rabies vaccination campaign using international vets in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Previous campaigns were March 2022, November 2022, March 2023 and we are currently planning (and raising funds for) November 2023 - where we are aiming to increase our numbersto 100 female dogs neutered. We are currently the only charity neutering street dogs for free in Sierra Leone. We focus on females as research shows this is more impactful to population control but do not turn away male dogs which are brought or caught. We have a paid local project manager who advocates for animal welfare, organises for unwell animals to be treated and runs an in school Animal Compassion Club in between sterilisation campaigns. In ACC he teaches kindness to animals, how to approach an animal to avoid a bite, how to care for a pet dog and what to do if bitten by
a dog.

Impact in numbers
Animals sterilised - 183 within a delineated city area - Wilberforce village - chosen because it is bordered by a large road and a river. We carry out household surveys after every campaign to assess the percentage of dogs who remain unneutered. Once we have neutered 80% of females in this area (figure cited to reduce population and Rabies risk) we will move onto a new area in the city.

Dog Rabies vaccinations given - 183

Children educated in animal compassion club - 25 with a new cohort of 24 beginning September 2023.

Impact (description)

We have seen a much improved relationships between the community and roaming dogs. We have worked hard to change attitudes towards neutering dogs. When we began many people declined our offer to neuter their dogs as they believed it was unsafe, the dog would become unwell or change in personality. By carrying out high standard veterinary procedures we have shown people that neutering their dog is safe and improves the dog’s condition and welfare. We now have a greater uptake at our neutering campaigns and locals contact us if they see a sick or injured dog. In 2020 we campaigned against the Mayor of Freetown’s plan to do a mass cull of street dogs, showing her the research showing that this has an adverse effect on Rabies incidence by de-stabilising the roaming dog population.

Share a personal experience
I became involved in CPI because I wanted to improve animal welfare. My first role was running a social media animal education group - Salone Talks. When I was researching for WRD 2020 I discovered the shocking statistics and felt inspired to help. On my first visit to Sierra Leone, CPI was invited to attend a Rabies Action meeting and I learnt the true extent and impact of Rabies in Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone Ministry of Agriculture
Freetown City Council
Mission Rabies (advisory)
FAR Vets (partnered with for first campaign)

*Information adapted from nomination form submitted.

Miss Rebecca Dobinson WRD 2023
Miss Rebecca Dobinson WRD 2023