From indies to birds, these organisations across India provide care for ailing and abandoned animals
In March 2020, when fears about the coronavirus were at a peak, a series of hoardings appeared around Mumbai, warning people to stay away from ‘live wild and farm animals,’ based on an advisory by the World Health Organisation.
What ensued was a mass abandonment with owners cruelly and irresponsibly abandoning their pet on the streets. Bengaluru, too, saw a 30 percent increase in abandoned pets.
This happened despite a statement from the same global health body that pets posed no threat as carriers of the disease. This mass abandonment only compounded the issue as India is already grappling with over 35 million strays on our streets.
The silver lining amidst all this has been that several individuals and organisations have been working to look after abandoned animals across the country. Many run on donations and people who volunteer their time at these shelters.
Here is a list of just a few that are providing an essential service in these challenging times.
Compassion Unlimited Plus Action! (CUPA) was set up in 1991 by Crystal Rogers, a British national, who relocated to Bengaluru to set up a non-profit, non-government organisation that would look after injured and abandoned animals. Today, the organisation has grown from a single bedroom to a network of six centres across the city.
Each centre manages a critical aspect of animal welfare – animal birth control, trauma and rescue, adoption and foster, geriatric care, large animal rehabilitation, a fully-equipped pet care clinic, and further activities such as pet cruelty inspections, advocacy for animal rights, awareness sessions with schools, colleges, and corporations, and so on.
CUPA also has a sister organisation — The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC) — that rescues and rehabilitates injured native wildlife such as birds, monkeys, and snakes.
WRRC has also followed the lives of thousands of captive elephants across the country, and the implications of being captive and used for tourism, entertainment, or religious purposes.
Dharamsala Animal Rescue, Dharamsala
Dharamsala Animal Rescue (DAR) was founded by Deb Jarrett, who came to India to spend a few weeks in Dharamsala and teach the children in the village. One day, she found an injured dog who had been left to die in the street. She reached out to someone who could help, and Tommy made a full recovery.
That inspired her to start DAR — an organisation that works for the welfare of street dogs. DAR provides a variety of services such as a humane and effective programme for creating a healthy sustained population of stray dogs, street animal rescue, local and global adoption of indies, and educating local school children about rabies, and showing compassion towards strays. According to its website, DAR has rescued 10,960 animals and enabled the adoption of 142 pets to homes across the globe.
The Bombay Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (BSPCA), Mumbai
This 137-year-old-hospital has been working to prevent cruelty to animals. It looks after injured or sick animals from across the city. The Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals, which was established in 1874 and is over 144 years in existence, functions under the BSPCA and works 24 hours a day, caring for more than 10,000 animals every year.
These include birds, horses, monkeys, dogs, etc. The hospital also has a shelter, cardiac centre, intensive care unit, blood bank, animal birth control centre, and crematorium.
Charity Birds Hospital, Delhi
The Charity Birds Hospital, in the National Capital’s Chandni Chowk area, has been looking after ailing birds for over 90 years. Based on the Jainism principle of "live and let live," it started as a single room at Kinari Bazar.
The hospital runs purely on donations, 95 percent of which comes from the Jain community. Today, it is a three-storeyed building, caring for over 500 birds. An average of 50-60 birds is admitted to the hospital each day. After the birds recover fully, they are released into their natural habitat.
Charlies Animal Rescue Centre – CARE, Bengaluru
Charlies Animal Rescue Centre – CARE was established in January 2013 to look after injured and ailing street animals in Bengaluru. CARE has a rescue helpline, provides animal ambulance services, and has a fully-equipped veterinary trauma care unit.
The organisation looks after a wide variety of animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, ducks, hens, pigs, guinea pigs, birds, and terrapins. It also facilitates pet adoptions, humane education in schools, animal cruelty prevention and control, and volunteering opportunities.
The trust was set up and named after a 15-year-old three-legged indie named Charlie, who has been an established figure in the field of canine therapy since 2005.
Edited by Suman Singh