Lack of a veterinary hospital in Dehradun has left amputee horse Shaktiman in an open shed, chasing away disease-carrying flies and mosquitoes with its tail.
Shaktiman, the police horse who lost its leg in a violent political rally, is being treated in the open at police lines. The horse, fitted with an uncomfortable artificial leg, is struggling to stand.
The grave danger the horse faces is infection through mosquitoes and houseflies, say veterinarians who are worried about its slow-healing stump wound. The lack of medical equipment is also a worry.
The gelding was feverish on Tuesday night—four degrees above normal. But temperature was soon brought down with medicine. On Wednesday evening, chief minister Harish Rawat visited the police lines to enquire about its health.
“Shaktiman’s treatment in the open can invite major risks. But we don’t have a hospital to provide proper medical care,” said Dehradun district chief veterinary officer Dr Rakesh Negi.
Dehradun was not always without a veterinary hospital. The historic district veterinary hospital at Dispensary Road, constructed in 1886, was the mainstay for all veterinary emergencies until the Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority pulled it down in 2008 to construct a multistory complex-cum-parking lot.
Pooja Baukhandi, the vice-president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, had filed a petition against MDDA in the Nainital high court, following which then MDDA vice-chairman Rakesh Kumar promised the court to construct a hospital or give Rs 3 crore for its construction within three years.
“Ideally, the authority should have constructed the hospital before dismantling the old structure. They also didn’t keep their promise made at HC,” Baukhandi said.
SPCA member secretary, Gauri Maulekhi, filed a contempt of court petition in this regard in 2014. The case is in court.
There is a temporary two-room hospital at Kanwali Road but it is too small for large animals like horses, cows, and buffaloes.
“The temporary arrangement is unsuitable as it is in residential colony, creating difficulties for locals,” said Dr Ashutosh Joshi, the officer incharge of Uttarakhand Animal Welfare Board.
HT tried to contact MDDA vice-president R Meenakshi Sundaram but he did not respond.