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No shelter, no food and zero funds: This is the state of most of Pune’s animal welfare centres

While Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) lack the facility of an official rescue shelter for homeless dogs, some private shelters run by NGOs are either dysfunctional or in a sorry state of affair. 

pune Updated: Nov 01, 2017 15:24 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
animal shelter,animal welfare centre,pune
A visit to one of the oldest shelters, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) revealed a non-functional hospital with no ambulances and only OPD facilities.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Amidst increasing cases of animal cruelty and complaints of stray menace on the rise, an introspective look into the city’s current animal welfare and sterilisation centres reveals a darker shade. While Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) lack the facility of an official rescue shelter for homeless dogs, some private shelters run by NGOs are either dysfunctional or in a sorry state of affair.

“It takes around ₹20 lakh to establish a fully functional rescue shelter and hospital, but much more to maintain it. And, that is exactly where the current shelters are losing out. On an average some ₹4 - ₹5 lakh per month should be spent to maintain a functional shelter,” said Manoj Oswal, honorary animal welfare officer.

a functional shelter should have basic facilities like a 24x7 helpline, ambulances, hygienic conditions, full-time doctors, stock of medicines with adequate facility of Out Patient Department (OPD) and In Patient department (IPD) and a concerned and passionate staff. Seen here is the Jeevraksha dog shelter, behind Residency club in Camp, Pune. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

He pointed out that a functional shelter should have basic facilities like a 24x7 helpline, ambulances, hygienic conditions, full-time doctors, stock of medicines with adequate facility of Out Patient Department (OPD) and In Patient department (IPD) and a concerned and passionate staff.

Living a dog’s life
The municipal corporations’ initiatives are solely focused on birth control rather than animal welfare.

However, lack of funds and land disputes have pushed many such shelters into a state of limbo. A visit to one of the oldest shelters, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) revealed a non-functional hospital with no ambulances and only OPD facilities. On condition of anonymity, an animal activist associated with the organisation revealed, “SPCA was doing quite well for some years but eventually, the services went down leading to bad reputation. Many donations which use to keep them adrift started to reduce leading to their situation becoming worse. Now, their hospital is almost non-functional with lack of basic facilities there. With proper help, maybe from the corporation, it can emerge to be a great centre for animal welfare, given its history and location, but that is for now a far cry.”

In terms of initiatives from the civic bodies, the municipal corporations have been solely focused on birth control rather than animal welfare. Many NGOs complained about the restrictions imposed by the civic bodies to only animal birth control and sterilisation of stray dogs.

Sick dogs are sent to the Blue Cross Foundation in Mundhwa from the civic bodies. (Sanket Wankhede/ HT PHOTO)

“There is no provision of an official shelter for strays by both PMC and PCMC. The different centres, or dog pounds located in different areas are for sterilisation. They catch the dogs from different areas and then surgery is performed on them, after which they are kept in the centre for almost 3 days, before letting them free. But no such medication is available in these centres. We have been trying to convince them for a full-time vet but that has still not been achieved,” said Sushma Date, member of Deccan Gymkhana Parisar Samiti.

Bluecross animal hospital in Keshavnagar, Mundhwa. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

On being asked about the solution for sick dogs, Dr Andhale, erstwhile in-charge of PMC pound, said,“Sick dogs are sent to Blue Cross Foundation in Mundhwa. Here we only do sterilisation of the dogs in a proper manner, through the assistance of different NGOs.” No further follow-up is done on their part. Also, contrary to many claims that sick dogs are not taken to the civic centres, a visit to one of the dog pounds near Pune Station, revealed many kennels crammed with two to three ailing dogs in considerably unhygienic conditions. Also, there were no veterinary doctors in the centre despite the critical condition of many animals.

However, she also pointed out how even birth control has not being carried out effectively. “The point is about the budget which is almost ₹72 lakh this year. That means every year around 10,000 dogs are sterilised in the city, and considering their rampant growth in population, is highly ineffective. Also the civic bodies do not have a proper census to mark their population in place. While they claim it to be around 40,000, in reality it is twice or even thrice the number,” Date added.

“If the civic bodies don’t have the basic research of the estimate population of dogs, none of their plans can be effective. That is the root cause,” rued Neha Panchamiya , founder,RESQ one of the few functional organisations of animal healthcare.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 14:37 IST