Many injured street dogs in Bengaluru are not getting prompt medical aid. NGOs say they are unable to rescue strays timely because they are short of money and time.
Recently, a pup was run over by a milk truck in Kumbalgodu. Chandrakala Yadav, a shop owner who witnessed the accident, said: “The accident occurred at around 8 am when a milk truck driver who was overspeeding ran over a little puppy who was sleeping in the middle of the road. The driver didn’t even bother to stop his truck to check up on the puppy.”
Chandrakala and her daughter tried to save the pup but in vain. “I asked my daughter to sprinkle water on the puppy as it was alive the moment we saw it, but it died after 10 minutes,” she added.
Anjali Belgaumkar, a student who went to Chandrakala’s shop soon after the incident, said: “At first I thought the puppy was sleeping. On a closer look, I realized it was gravely injured. I asked the shop owner if she had called for help but they said they hadn’t. I tried calling CUPA but my call went unanswered.”
Asked about the challenges that animal rescue shelters face, Keerthan, manager at Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre (CARE), said: “We run our rescue operations from 9.30 am to 5:30 pm. Beyond, that it is difficult for us to take calls as we don’t work 24/7. Running a round-the-clock service is extremely expensive and we don’t have funds for it.”
Most animal rescue shelters in Bengaluru run on funds. The pandemic has led to reduced funding. “Since the pandemic struck…, most donations have been diverted for the welfare of people.”
Another problem that hinders rescue operations is distance. Girish, who runs Animal Rights Fund: “Distance matters a lot. If a place is an hour away from our office, it becomes difficult for us to rescue the dog. We drive to places that are near to us. Due to such circumstances, some stray dogs might not get the treatment they require.”
According to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act anyone who runs over an animal will be punished and the punishment ranges from a fine of less than Rs.10 in the case of first offence to imprisonment for three months if the offence is repeated.
About laws pertaining to animal cruelty in India, Harish, who worked as an animal welfare officer at CUPA, said: “There is very little support from the government for such shelter homes. The laws that are in place for animals are not enough. It is important to understand that while the Government is for people, animals hold an important part in the ecosystem. There should be better laws to protect animals.”
Shiuli Subaya, a stray-animal rescuer associated with Rawr for Cats, told The Observer: “Stray animals are seen to be a nuisance, and a common mistake that is often made is that puppies or kittens are separated from their mothers prematurely. As rescuers, we can never take the place of their mothers and what they provide in terms of care and nutrition.”
If anyone finds an injured stray animal, the best way to get help is by posting its picture social media. “There is a large network of people who work towards animal welfare on Facebook. If anyone comes across an injured animal, he/she should post a picture on Facebook. Animal welfare groups on social media are extremely active so it is most likely that someone would reach out for help,” she added.
“Stray animal birth control is very important. It should be sponsored by the government, but it doesn’t do much. So people should come forward and spend Rs 1,500 which is required to sterilize one stray animal.”
To treat an injured animal when no professional aid is available, the Anti-Cruelty society suggests that it be covered with a blanket and first-aid given. An animal in a critical condition must be taken to a vet as soon as possible.