October 2013: Cats, Cattle, Cyclones, and Floods
Dear supporters and well-wishers,
We write you at a very difficult time, having endured a disastrous cyclone, and now with our shelter being flooded – but that doesn't stop us from working to help the animals! We're pleased to provide updates on our recent and ongoing work below.
Helping our area's cats
Yes cat hoarding exists in India! Now that the street dog population is lessened because of our animal birth control programs and also that we are sending the cat hunters out of town we now see an explosion of cats roaming around. They are not safe on our streets. Further, there are many people, young girls and elderly ladies burdened with rescuing cats way beyond their means. This leads to immense suffering for the cats and also the cat rescuers. Our counselling skills are needed to properly advise them and get their cats spay/neutered. Our adoption teams are dedicated to helping both these cats and the people who care for them. Meanwhile our cat sanctuaries with over 125 cats provide the best habitat for the rescued cats who need rehabilitation.
Save Humans and Dogs lives in rural Andhra Pradesh
Our state of Andhra Pradesh, with over 75 million people is the hub of human rabies cases which predominantly occurs during the severe summer months. Rabies comes more from the rural areas and 70% of our state is rural! Even though this is illegal, poor dogs in these rural areas are being severely massacred by the order of the village heads. We launched "Save Human and Dogs Lives in rural Andhra Pradesh" coinciding with World Rabies Day on September 28, starting from the outskirts of our city. We plan to move into the rural areas of our district first and then extend to other areas in coordination with other Animal Welfare Organizations/ individuals/ groups. First we want to develop new animal lovers and groups in places where there are no Animal Welfare Organization thereby creating teams for effective monitoring in these places. Second is to have extensive awareness and education programme and the third intention is to develop an effective network. We are gradually bringing the concept of Animal Welfare into the villages which has never existed before. Animals need us and this can be a role model to other areas of the country.
1569 male calves saved / protected and rehomed successfully
The Simhachalam Temple Male Calves issue has finally taken shape complete protection for these babies. There is a gradual decrease in the number of male calves that were being donated by the devotees to the temple. Now there are around 40 calves which is a vast reduction from the previous 200 hundred calves per week. Our multi pronged efforts has been very positive and the results very encouraging. Our team consisting of Cattle Respect Programme India (Joint Venture of "Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals" and "Animal Angels") has been carrying out extensive education in villages, educating against donating male calves to the Temple and also providing alternate solution by not disturbing the religious sentiment. The devotees on our suggestions are making idols of male calves and donating that to the temple instead. The adoptions of male calves are given to the eligible poor farmers with strict verification and monitoring is part of the solution. So far more than 1569 calves have been distributed to various farmers. We find these to be more practical in that the farmers are more than eligible to take care than the temples.
We have also taken measures to stop the middle men from robbing these male calves and send to the Illegal Slaughter Houses. With the cooperation from the police there is good discipline in Temple area regarding the male calf issue. We are on the verge of achieving a major change in this age old practice and belief. The farmers who wanted to get rid of their male calves as being unproductive and pushing the responsibilities upon the Temple will now have to realise that they will need to decide upon their own conscience. Sadly the Indian breeds are losing out to political decisions and mixed breed in the name of high production of milk is gaining ground. We plead for support to continue this ground-breaking societal change.
"Phailin" the Super Cyclone, and Super Destroyer!
First, we had the 66th indefinite strike called by almost all departments (government, electricity, labour, transport) to protest against the division of our state of Andhra Pradesh Department. Their strike was then temporarily suspended due to the supercyclone, so they went back to work for a few days because of the extreme weather conditions. However, now the Andhra Pradesh petrol and Diesel Association have called for a new indefinite strike from next week which will cripple many activities ushering in more misery and cost escalation and allowing antisocial elements to take over.
Cyclone Phalin was a super cyclone hitting North Andhra Pradesh and South Odhisa with high voltage winds of 240 kms per hour causing extensive damage.
This, however, did not deter us to help in rescue street animals, continue our 20 Animal Birth Control surgeries per day as well reach out to save animals during these disasters.
"Phailin" the super cyclone passed our coast between Andhra Pradesh and Odhisa on 12th Morning leaving behind a trail of destruction. While the Government had shifted more than 1.2 million human beings to cyclone shelters, the animals have been left behind to fend for themselves.
Our two shelters have been well protected and as soon as we could we were out on the streets looking for distressed animal affected by the storm.
We have focused in Srikakulum, north of us, which was directly hit. We have a special connection to this region being that we serve the sea turtles in this coast, we protect the Migratory Birds in Telenelipuram of the district and we also attend to floods of this district.
In our survey for immediate relief, the teams have come across massive destruction of another Migratory Bird place known as "Telikunchi" Ichapuram town of Srikakulam District and which is very close to the border of Odhisa and 270 kilometres from us in Visakhapatnam. It was complete catastrophe for these "Asian opened Billed Storks". Approximately 4000 of them perished to the storm while another 2000 were grounded with various injuries as twisted necks, broken bones under the wings and injuries and completely traumatized and wet. In co-ordination with our vet and the Veterinarian from the Zoo the treatment, and drying of the birds, keeping them warm, bringing them fresh food miraculously resulted in 1600 of the grounded birds to fly upon the trees within 2 days. The ones which were critically injured have been shifted to makeshift area building belonging to school. Looking at the magnitude of the issue based on our SOS call teams far away has answered our call.
Mr. Saleem from PFA Bangalore arrived within 2 days and has worked hard for full 7 days. Other NGOs arrived to help us, we extend our extreme gratefulness to them. There have been offers to send volunteers but we are unable to accommodate all at a time because of no accommodation, no electricity, no proper water and above all no proper food. Under these circumstances we have decided the team and utilise the services of local people villages that are used to these conditions. We are training them for the future too.
We need to stay there for more than a month for total recovery as some of them are very tiny chicks. They all will fly away with their grown up babies by the end of November. We will begin our protection at Tenelipuram area where birds start to arrive from October to March.
The most essential requirement is to feed these birds which number 1,100 as they are able to search for food at the moment. And this is the most expensive part. Our needs are 25Kgs per day and we looking at 3 to 4 weeks of artificial feeding.
We also plan to bring the daily food from as far as 130 kms away to keep these birds from virtual starvation. In view of another cyclone arriving soon we are planning to have a make shift shelter and mobile genset.
We remain extremely grateful to A Well Fed World, Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, Mr. Phil Wollen, Help Animals India and NetAP.
We request for your continued support to keep the teams going through November. Please help us with whatever you can.
We close with our exceptional gratitude for your support during these tough times, as we write this our shelter is now flooding, which did not happen during the cyclone but is happening now! Please check our www.facebook.com/vspca page for the latest reports and extend your helping hand to our animals!
Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA)