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Floods in Kerala: Rescue teams race to save abandoned pets

The Hyderabad-based Humane Society International, India has set up an emergency helpline to coordinate animal rescue throughout Kerala.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2018 23:01 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Thiruvananthapuram
Floods in Kerala,Kerala floods,Kerala rains
The rescuers are checking the remains of dwellings in flood-hit areas for stranded animals. (AFP file photo)

With floods ravaging Kerala and Kodagau in Karnataka, animal rescuers are being inundated with distress calls from desperate people who were forced to evacuate their homes without their pets.

The Hyderabad-based Humane Society International, India has set up an emergency helpline to coordinate animal rescue throughout Kerala. It is collaborating with Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), based in Bangalore, for rescue efforts in the Karnataka district.

Many rescue boats in the early days of the disaster in Kerala refused to take animals, leaving behind hundreds of dogs and cats to fend for themselves.

“People are desperately worried about their pets and our Kerala helpline is ringing day and night with pleas for animal rescue,” said Rahul Sehgal, HSI India’s senior director of Companion Animals & Engagement.

Every day, teams of rescuers are wading waist-deep through leech-infested water to check the remains of dwellings for stranded animals, he said.

“Many of the animals have now starved for several days so although they are traumatised, they are visibly relieved to hear a human voice,” Sehgal added.

HSI India is working with a network of other Indian animal protection groups in each district across the state.

Pet owners are using WhatsApp to send photos of their animals and the location of their near-submerged houses so that HSI India can get rescuers to the scene to save the stranded pets, a spokesperson told PTI.

“We are urging rescue teams to allow families to bring their pets, but if people are forced to leave them behind, they must be unchained or they risk drowning,” said Sehgal.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 23:01 IST