Tussle over animal welfare boils over as SPCA rejects admn takeover bid

  • Aarish Chhabra, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 16, 2015 09:08 IST

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) - Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) - on Friday said it had rejected the UT administration’s takeover bid. Having stopped the funding to the NGO, the administration had formed its own Society for Welfare of Animals (SWA) in March, but was later forced by rules and circumstances to urge the SPCA for a merger.

“But their attitude has been of uncertainty. After some initial talks we had agreed for a merger two months ago, but they did not give any commitment on whether or not they would take over our pending liabilities of around `13 lakh. So we withdrew that offer. Ever since, the situation has not changed,”said SPCA president Jasbir Ralhan, blaming “ego of some officials”for the fall-through.

Both parties had separately agreed to the payoff of the NGO’s liabilities, but Ralhan underlined that in a recent meeting of the SWA, which is chaired by animal husbandry director Prince Dhawan, the payoff offer was mentioned as “subject to approval of the finance department”. That meeting took place two weeks ago, “and we have nothing official on it since”.

Hence, Ralhan said: “We decided at our executive meeting on Thursday evening that we will run the SPCA howsoever we can - for now by contributing money on our own and eventually through donations by showcasing good work.”

Dhawan, when contacted, said he would be able to present his version only after he got any official intimation about it.
The issue had started after the administration - having granted `60 lakh in the past three years alone - stopped funding to the SPCA last year citing factionalism and mismanagement, particularly after Ralhan was elected president. In the absence of funding, staff at the SPCA shelter has remained unpaid for several months, and the illness-afflicted animals too are not getting treatment as the two staff doctors have left. Two dogs are reported to have died in the past fortnight, though Ralhan insists all is fine.


As for the SWA, headquartered for now at the Sector 38-W government veterinary hospital, it does not have any dedicated premises. “It would have been great if the SPCA had merged with us, as we would’ve got a proper building and other infrastructure,”said an official in the administration.

Ralhan’s conditions for the takeover included that the liabilities be paid off, and certain members from the opposing faction that he had expelled be kept out.

“But at the SWA meeting, minutes of which are with us, they had even said that members would have to apply afresh,”Ralhan said.
HT had reported how both parties were primarily stuck at the question of who would formally mediate. Ralhan had conveyed his conditions to a committee formed by the administration for mediation but wanted top officers to come forth. The officers did not want to get involved as Ralhan has in the past complained about their alleged arrogance. It was also learnt a week ago that a top MC official would hold a meeting “soon”. That has not happened to date.


Ralhan also expressed fear that the administration “would have handed over our NGO effectively to the much-powerful NGO People for Animals”, underlining that the local PFA chief Payal Sodhi had been made the head of two sub-committees of the SWA.

Ralhan had last week also received a call purportedly from Union minister Maneka Gandhi, who is the PFA national chairperson, over some alleged irregularities and cruelty to animals at the SPCA’s Sector 38-W facility.

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