June 2009 : New horse rescue, ending the cat meat trade, and other news
Expanding the reach of our animal birth control programme, improving our shelter's resistance to natural disasters and battling the shocking local trade in cat meat (we are not showing photos of this here) are among our current challenges at VSPCA. Read more about them below.
Bringing canine birth control up north
Will you help me get Animal Birth Control and a rabies vaccinations?
Since 1996 we have provided spay/neuter/vaccination services for almost 70,000 dogs in our area of Greater Visakha. But just 30 kilometres to the north of us (and throughout much of India) it's an entirely different story. In the town of Bhimli, there are no such services. There, the preferred method of dog population control is to kill the animals, and cruelly. We are therefore extremely heartened to report that we are going to extend our canine birth control program to Bhimli. Your donations will help us make this program a sustainable success.
A horse named Vanessa
For two years now, we have operated a medical camp every two weeks for horses, which are relatively new to our area. The camp provides vaccinations, extra feed when needed, and counseling to owners about proper shelter and care to these often-abused horses which are used to provide "rides" to the public on the beach road. In one of our camps we were fortunate to rescue "Vanessa" (shown right) – read his story and other new animal sponsorship stories here.
As this newsletter goes to press we just rescued another horse from starving on the streets and he is now with us at the shelter. He was rescued from BHPV (Bharat Heavy Plates and Vessels Company), about 60 km from our shelter. Pradeep was called by a good friend at 3.30 pm and our resuce team was there by 4.30 pm with our cattle rescue vehicle. He was, as you can see from the photos (below) a victim of terrible mistreatment.
He is now with us under our care with the best medical attention. We are hoping he will recover very fast.
This is the fourth case of extremely abused horses coming in to our shelter, and we are running out of room for new horses which need rehabilitation. Your donation can help us rescue more horses in need.
Cat Eaters are on the prowl
In the city and the country, the cat killers are on the prowl again. We are not showing the gruesome photos here but cat meat is in high demand. Although we have caught these cat poachers several times, the punishment is not strong enough to deter them. From now on we will book them under the more stringent Wildlife Act.
A craving for cat meat in India? Well, not really. We have yet to hear of anyone here with a taste for cat meat. Rather, our informers say the cat meat is being used to adulterate other meats without people's knowledge.
Another theory is that the cats are being captured for experiments. But that is not a possibility because all animal experiments must be approved by the Animal Welfare Board of India of which VSPCA President Pradeep Nath is a member in our region. Whatever their purpose, we are committed to stopping these criminal acts once and for all.
In one neighbourhood, for example, the cat poachers have been driven out of business because the entire community of 50 families is united in protecting the animals. We have committed to do Animal Birth Control on the 40 cats still living there which is ongoing right now. If you could help us fund the ABC, we (and the cats) will be deeply grateful.
On the trail of Parrot Poachers
The abusive exploitation of parrots by "fortune-tellers" is a problem here where they are captured as babies from the wild, kept in tiny boxes all day long without proper food or water (except when they are let out to "work") with their wings badly clipped to the point of mutilation. Please read our Best Friends blog for more. This year, for the first time, we have been fortunate to receive help from the World Parrot Trust so we may rescue more of these parrots.
New disaster risk-reduction building at our shelter
Every year, our city of Visakhapatnam is prone to cyclones. At our shelter, the potential for damage or disaster is great. On any given day we cater to 611 cattle, 200 dogs, 53 cats, 40 Animal Birth Control operations for dogs and cats, new wild animal rescues and the upkeep of 4 horses, 11 monkeys, 34 star tortoises, 124 birds, 15 rabbits, 6 mice, 8 guinea pigs, 6 crows and 2 hens. All this on less than three acres of land.
We are always apprehensive about the safety of the animals in our shelter, even during normal monsoon times.
Although we have already spent a lot of money developing our drainage system, we are far from having solved the problem. We would like to develop our disaster plans to include an improved drainage system, a boundary wall up to five feet high, structures to keep wildlife safer, and an inventory of emergency materials such as mobile generators, torches, shovels, industrial equipment, rain coats, rain boots, helmets and flash lights.
And we are making progress. Recently, WSPA generously helped underwrite the construction of our new Emergency Animal Feed Storage Facility (shown below). Built four feet above ground level, the facility will keep feed and medicines for up to 1000 animals (including up to 6 tonnes of cattle feed) safe and hygienic through any flood. We are grateful to WSPA for this generous help.
Our new emergency feed storage facility.
We are pleased to acknowledge major support for our programmes from the Greater Good Animal Rescue Site . You can help their noble effort for all animals by visiting their site and clicking each day.
We have received extremely helpful supplies once again from the Animal Rescue League of Boston. A special thank you to our consultant expert veterinarian, Dr. Bosmat Gal. Her twice yearly visits are continuing to improve our standards and protocols. Supplies were also donated by a great new grass roots group, the Animal Medical Care Foundation. This year, we once again received sponsorship for two veterinarian salaries from the Maria Norbury Fund for Animals. We currently employ four extremely hard working veterinarians and hope to add a fifth.
Thank you for all the support from our many worldwide friends.
Our shelter manager Sarada stands outside the VSPCA front gate with a few of the nearly 200 free-roaming resident dogs we have rescued.
Now, the punishing summer heat – with all the hardships, virulent diseases and special needs for our care to all of the street animals – is upon us. A dependable flow of monthly income is key to our ability to maintain the shelter and all of our programmes. We are driven to continue our mission! Please consider becoming part of the VSPCA Sustainers Fund by joining our loyal team of monthly donors. Of course, any contribution is most welcome including your ideas and important networking to your friends. Your donation is fully tax deductible if coming from India or if coming from the United States (through the Help Animals India info available on our donate link).
On behalf of Pradeep Nath and all at VSPCA,
VSPCA global outreach