Visakha SPCA India, Inc. Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals
The devastating second wave of COVID

Dear ardent lover of animals and well-wisher of VSPCA

We hope you and your family are healthy and safe amidst the ongoing pandemic. We at VSPCA are grateful to you for supporting and standing with us over the years and especially during these hard times.

India has been hit by a devastating second wave, with more than 320,000 deaths as per government sources, but the on-ground reality is 5-10 times higher than that figure. The second wave overwhelmed the healthcare system, with people struggling to get hospital beds, oxygen, and medicines and crematoriums ran out of space

During the last month, along with the ongoing second wave of the pandemic, there have been reports of new infections spreading across the country. At present, it was identified that the black, white, and yellow fungal infection cases are increasing rapidly among the patients who recovered or currently receiving treatment for covid. India at present has over 10,000 black fungus cases. Unchecked levels of blood sugar, abuse of steroids during covid treatment are identified as the reasons for this outbreak. The government has ramped up the production and import of its drug and most states have notified this disease as an epidemic. 

Visakhapatnam, where our headquarters, shelters, and our daily activities are carried out is seeing an increase in the number of black fungal infection cases.  Even a few people succumbed to death due to these new infections. The state of Andhra Pradesh has declared it an epidemic. We don't know how many new infections will emerge in the future, and with the health system already overburdened by the ongoing pandemic, it will be a difficult road ahead for both front-line warriors and people to overcome these challenges.

The second wave has struck hard beyond any wild expectations and it not only affected humans but also the animals to a very great extent. It is so disheartening to see so many animals helpless and abandoned due to the consequences of our actions.

Millions of animals are suffering and thousands of them are losing their lives due to a human-made disaster.

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Lockdown and restrictions

The lockdown and the restrictions impacted the street animals to an extent where they are dying due to hunger. The usual areas where street animals find their daily food are not available due to the closure of stores, restaurants, food stalls, malls, and commercial services across the state. With streets and public spaces deserted there is no one that feeds them making it miserable for the street animals to quench their hunger and pass on each day in hope of finding some food.

Even though the government has granted clearance to open businesses until 12 p.m., not all merchants are ready to take the risk of exposing themselves to corona, especially given the large crowds that will be present during that time. So, the situation for street animals has not been improved at all and is neither being addressed by the local government authorities.

But the lockdown and restrictions did not deter our staff members and volunteers to feed and help animals as much as they can. The street animals need our help now more than ever as they are facing extremely tough times.

We currently stretched our dog feeding programme at our 16 dog feeding stations to provide as many food packets as possible to stray animals. The programme is operating at various times throughout the day at various locations spread across the city, from 5 AM - 10 AM and 3 PM - 6:30 PM. We are providing the food packets to 1500 dogs approximately which was increased from 800 dogs before the pandemic hit. But, there are still so many animals that have to be fed and we are trying as much as we can within our limited resources and capacity.

The images shown below are from one of our dog feeding stations which is also our headquarters where you can the dogs and cats eating and resting together in front of the entrance. The dogs, cats, birds, sparrows, and even rats all have their specific feeding area where they also relax and leave to their destinations. Our vision is for each feeding station to be equipped with basic amenities such as food and water bowls, ensuring that street animals have access to their basic right to food and water. To accomplish this, we will need dedicated volunteers from across the city.

We would appreciate your contribution to help us provide as many food packets as we can to the animals across the city through our dedicated team and volunteers.

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Rambabu - The Utility Man

The pandemic did not spare our animal warriors and had a toll on our staff members. We want to share with you all about one of our dedicated staff member who has been with us for over 20 years  - Mr. Rambabu

Rambabu is over 60 years old and handicapped by polio. He particularly looks after the "special needs dogs section" in our main shelter where the blind, paraplegia, severely permanent wounded dogs, and lifetime critical care dogs are present. He has the ability to connect with such innocent animals with immense patience, passion, and love all day long and he is also fearless to attend any type of emergency calls to help and save the animal. He looks after each of them as his own child and takes care of them with utmost care and protection looking after their daily needs. He has been doing this selfless work that he loves for over 20 years. 

One day he came to the shelter with a 105-degree Celcius fever to attend and take care of his friends. We were shocked to see his body temperature that high, and as per covid protocols we sent him back to his home to rest as soon as we checked the temperature at the gate. We provided the necessary medication on the advice of the doctor and is currently battling hard to beat the covid virus.

During this pandemic, our shelters have several unsung heroes working hard, risking their lives many times to be with our 1300 animals in the shelter, caring for their needs, and attending to spay and emergency rescues.

He is currently sponsored by one of our partners NetAP (Network for Animal Protection), Switzerland. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts for recognizing and helping such dedicated animal warriors.

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Lifetime care facility for the cattle

Our kindness farm largely caters to the lifetime care of the cattle rescued from the illegal transportation or slaughtering from the shanties or while being transported. As our main shelter was overcrowded we moved some of the rescued cattle to the kindness farm to clear some space for emergency animals in the main shelter. The cattle at both the main shelter and kindness farm are provided with food, water, and medicinal needs for their entire lifetime. We are happy to see so many cattle have lived their full life happily at our shelters while growing with us for the past 20-25 years.

At present, due to the pandemic situation, we are relying on police support as well with a due FIR filed before we bring in any cattle from illegal transportation or slaughtering to the shelter. But for the injured and sick ones, we are still attending emergency calls even in the containment zones within our capacity of resources.

We want to share with you all one of the cattle's story!

VSPCA is 25 years old and so is Pothu Raju.

Pothu Raju was rescued as a male buffalo calf while he was on his way to a nearby illegal slaughterhouse in Arivola, Visakhapatnam. The VSPCA team had just completed their spay-neuter programme operations for the day and were reviewing their temporary shelter plans while returning to their homes. They suddenly saw a calf being dragged down to a slaughterhouse, the team reacted immediately by stopping the slaughter and rescuing the calf, which was Pothu Raju. The year was 1996 and the VSPCA team had just moved to Arivola temporarily. Pothu Raju was just months old and was unproductive for his greedy owner. So, the owner was dragging it to an illegal slaughterhouse for the money which was completely an actionable crime as per the law. Officially it was the first rescue of VSPCA though before registering it as an organization, the team helped countless animals over two decades and carried out their work from makeshift shelters. 

We are very happy to see Pothu Raju is still happy, healthy, and majestic as he was always been with his famous horns. 

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Sponsor a tree at Kindness Farm

Kindness Farm in Kuruvada region of Andhra Pradesh is where VSPCA’s innovative work around biodiversity retention and plant-based living is carried out. This sanctuary over 12 acres, houses many 100s of non-native and native animals, large and small – emus, horses, rams, cattle, dogs, cats, and a variety of birds. All animals are rescues unable to live without assistance. The farm grows many thousands of trees and crops for the community. It has biogas, vermicomposting, fertilizer, and ground cleaner production facilities making efficient use of animal waste. Its hospital, surgery, and post-op care facilities are of great help to the region’s farmers. The world’s first Dog Park is undergoing construction. A significant Rain Water Harvesting system covering the whole property is also in progress. From a wasteland in 2012 to an oasis in 2018, Kindness Farm continues to attract more animals to it. Therefore, we are boosting our native tree planting efforts to retain this region’s amazing biodiversity that is seeing growing numbers of migratory birds rest here.

We want to keep reforesting and we need your help! With only 20 dollars we can plant the Kindness Farm with even more native trees to enlarge this wonderful oasis and create a habitat for even more animals. A thousand more trees are our ambitious goal. We know it will be difficult, but every single tree counts and with your help, we will surely achieve a lot 💪

Join in and have a tree planted for you too. If you want to dedicate the tree to someone, write their name in the comment section while donating and show that person that you want to make this world a little better for them too. May we plant many more trees! 🍀

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Kassiopea Sanctuary in Kindness Farm!

The Kassiopea Sancturay at Kindness Farm fully functional by our partners NetAP - Network for Animal Protection, Switzerland is the most green cat building housing over 43 cats. All these cats were rescued from very terrible emergency and crisis situations and cannot go back. As part of our cat protection programme in collaboration with NetApp, we spay street cats and release them in the same location but those that cannot survive and/or vulnerable are housed here under our care.

Creating awareness among residents, performing spay-neuter, rescuing and attending emergency crisis situations, lodging official complaints against those that are hurting the cats and performing necessary surgeries at our shelter are all part of our integrated cat protection programme.

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International days of importance

1. World Biodiversity Day - May 22

VSPCA wishes everyone a Regenerative Biodiversity Month!

To raise awareness and understanding of biodiversity problems, the United Nations has proclaimed May 22 as International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB)Biodiversity is a characteristic of ecosystems; especially crucial to city ecosystems, enabling human flourishing via the provision of essential ecosystem services. VSPCA has initiated and succeeded in various biodiversity regeneration projects in Andhra Pradesh, India, over the years. The sea turtle conservation program and the migratory bird’s project are two examples of projects that have had a positive effect on biodiversity preservation along the Bay of Bengal’s coast.

In nature’s economy, the currency is not money, it is life -- Vandana Shiva

Animal Welfare is about Human Welfare -- Pradeep Kumar Nath, President VSPCA India

2. World Sea Turtle Day - May 23

Every year on May 23rd, World Turtle Day is celebrated all over the world. The aim of this day is to raise awareness about turtles and tortoises, increase knowledge and appreciation for them, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. All seven sea turtle species on the planet are endangered, and the olive ridley turtle is one of them.

Sea Turtle Protection is one of the many initiatives by VSPCA to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles which conducts unique nesting rituals on Vizag’s shores. Due to the rapid coastal development and increasing pollution on the beaches, it is getting more and more difficult for sea turtles to find a proper place to nest and lay their eggs. It is very clear that if proper measures are not taken, the sea turtles might become extinct in the near future, or at least we might never see them on the Vizag’s coast again. VSPCA has been carrying out sea turtle conservation along the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Visakhapatnam for the past 25 years in collaboration with the fishing community hence ensuring the protection of the habitat.

Few of the major threats faced by sea turtle conservancy are:

  1. The first threat is the loss of nesting habitat, which happens as a result of human activity like developing buildings along the coast (coastal development), hosting public events on the beaches in the nesting areas, etc.
  2. The second major factor is commercial fishing which often results in accidental capturing of turtles and other animals often referred to as ‘bycatch’.
  3. The third one is ocean pollution & ocean acidification.
  4. Bright lights near the coast and the sea-level rise are also threats to the sea turtle population. A number of islands also serve as important nesting grounds but due to sea-level rise, they could disappear resulting in loss of nesting habitat of sea turtle populations.

To know more about Olive Ridley turtles, click here

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Few of the rescues by our dedicated team and volunteer network

With the pandemic hitting us very hard it has put enormous pressure on our infrastructure, resources, and manpower to attend the distress calls. The pandemic has restricted and created a lot of hurdles to rescue animals and also affected our own staff preventing 100% staff attendance. Our dedicated volunteer team led by Mr. Vivek has been very resourceful, compassionate, and efficient in responding to distress calls, rescuing, and performing on-spot treatments. 

One of our goals for 2021 is to build a strong volunteer network where we have a representative for each street of the city that looks after the animals. We are working on it and are happy to see people on board with us slowly that are affectionate and have a passion for animal welfare and protection. Below you can find some of the rescues and treatments performed by our volunteer team.

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26-15-200, Main Road, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India, 530-001
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