Animal shelters run against difficult odds

Animal shelters run against difficult odds

They are packed to capacity, but still take in blind and crippled animals that have nowhere to go

Doctors at CUPA treat injured animals and put them back on the streets.

Bengaluru is arguably the most animal-friendly city in the country. It is also perhaps the best when it comes to the care of stray animals in case of accidents or sickness.

Non-governmental organisations are going all out to help sick and injured animals. But animal shelters are almost always running at full capacity.

The funds NGOs generate are purely from donations; they get absolutely no help from the government. When an individual takes a sick or injured animal to the shelter for treatment, he or she may donate some money to cover the cost of medicines and food while the animal is there. Sometimes, kind-hearted people donate more.

NGOs treat stray animals completely free of cost, while small amounts are charged for pets. However, the donations are barely enough to run the shelters.

Sudha Narayanan is the founder and trustee of Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre (CARE). “We have a trauma care centre for sick and injured animals. We have about 110 dogs and 20 cats undergoing treatment. There are also animals that live with us permanently,” she says.

About 70 dogs, apart from birds and other animals, live at the shelter. “We are full but we still make exceptions for animals that are blind or completely crippled because they can’t go back on the road,” she says.

CARE has a trauma care centre for sick and
injured animals in Yelahanka.

Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) trustee Suparna Ganguly says it is no different with the NGO she co-founded.

“We are always running at full capacity. But we still try and accommodate accident cases by having a fast turnaround at the trauma centre. The brief to the doctors is that the animal should be healthy to be put back on the street,” she says.

The capacity of the CUPA centre is 65 dogs, but very often it ends up with 85-90.

“When this is the case, we put up a note on our Facebook page regretting that we are unable to take in more animals because it is full. Once we have space, we take the notice down,” she says.

It is not just about space. Shelters need money for medical equipment, medicines, food, and staff salaries.

Suparna rues the lack of support from corporates and the government.

“There is absolutely no government grant given for this kind of work. When it comes to CSR, many companies don’t have animal welfare on their agenda,” she says, adding that CUPA has appealed to corporates through presentations.

Companies typically support education, water, cancer, and women’s empowerment as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes.

Suparna says animal welfare has never been a stated objective and that needs to change.

No govt support
No animal shelter in the city is funded by the government, observes Sudha Narayanan of Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre. “If the government steps in and helps, we are ready to go the extra mile. Shelters should be government-funded but run by NGOs,” she says.  If the government does its bit, the city can have shelters in all corners, she says.

Want to help?
CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action): 080 22947300/301
CARE (Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre): 9483911110 /9035999372