Canberra Vets recognised as ACT Australian of the Year finalists

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Image courtesy of the ABC

Drs Alison Taylor and Michael Archinal have been named finalists in the Australian Capital Territory’s category of the Australian of the Year award for their work in creating a program to de-sex dogs in remote communities of central Australia.

National Australia Day Council chief executive officer Jeremy Lasek praised the two vets saying, “These two are not just improving the lives of the dogs, but also the people who live in Central Australia.”

The two began their work in 2011 by teaming up with Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities [AMRRIC] and the local traditional land owners to improve the lives of dogs in region. Drs Taylor and Archinal now work with 28 remote communities.

The vets’ program predominantly de-sexes cats and dogs, but their work extends to “treating dogs for external and internal parasites because these can also transfer to people,” explains Dr Archinal. “There is the odd pig, horse, goat or donkey out there that needs our help as well.”

The extension of their program has led to other benefits for the communities. “We have reduced skin sores in people in one community by 87 per cent and the medical clinic in that area has reduced their ordering supplies of medication for skin sores sores by 75 per cent,” says Dr Archinal.

Whilst the vets are grateful for the nomination, Dr Archinal says, “We don’t do this work for the accolades, we just saw a need and thought about what talents we could bring to the table.”

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