In light of the failure of NGO Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in tackling the stray dog menace, in particular, and allegations of inefficiency, the UT administration has formed its own entity for animal welfare.
Registered as ‘Society for Welfare of Animals’ or SWA, its president is the UT director of animal husbandry.
All further grants to the SPCA, which got over `60 lakh in the past over three years, have been suspended. Next, it would be asked to change its name so that the administration can use ‘SPCA’, or it would have the option to merge with the new body unconditionally, according to Dr Lovelesh Kant Gupta, joint director-cum-veterinary officer, animal husbandry.
Dr Gupta, as the joint director, would be general secretary of the SWA.
However, the new society, which will now formally align with the Animal Welfare Board of India, would not immediately carry out sterilisation of dogs and other such work. Staff and infrastructure, including a veterinary hospital, would be put in place in the coming months, after a formal notification comes this month.
For now, the municipal corporation has assigned the dog sterilisation project to the SPCA of Udgir, Maharashtra, for a year, as the local SPCA and NGO People for Animals (PFA) could only sterilise 932 of the around 10,000-odd stray dogs in the city.
The animal husbandry department has provided space to the MC for construction of a dog kennel at its vet hospital in Sector 38 West.
Under 2001 notification
The administration formed the SWA under a 2001 notification by the union government, said Dr Gupta: “The notification said the respective government has to form an ‘SPCA’ wholly run by it. Even where the name was already taken by an NGO, the NGO has to change it, and the government body would be the SPCA. We had been backing the privately-run SPCA. Now we have stopped the funding and will now write to them to give up the name too.”
Officials said the SPCA’s recent elections and a resultant bickering between factions and among office-bearers made the administration go by the book and form its own body. As for PFA, the other NGO engaged in animal welfare work in Chandigarh, it has not taken any funding for the past five years.
Formed in 1985, the SPCA, as per the latest official data available, got `11 lakh in 2011-12, `22 lakh in 2012-13, another `25.6 lakh in 2013-14, and got `10 lakh this year so far, before the funding was suspended. It is running an animal shelter and hospital in Sector 38 West.
Jasbir Ralhan, elected in August as the president of the SPCA, said the group that lost the election had made false allegations of embezzlement of funds. “I had exposed embezzlement by the other group, in fact. This action now is unfair. I will urge the administration to reconsider even at this stage,” he added.