Tsunami animal relief report - May 2005

The dark times of the tsunami have provided us with an opportunity to do good: the lessons we are learning today will help prevent more miseries tomorrow. We profusely thank everyone of you for being a part of these rebuilding measures and helping us secure a happier place for the animals who have such difficult lives.

We began the Animal Birth Control (ABC) program in Pothinimalayapalem (PMP) which had been our earlier target. A plan comprising of the surrounding villages around the city and the coastal Tsunami villages has been prepared to allow to help strategically. Shown below are street dog catchings and operated dogs awaiting their release.

What was remarkable to us was that at PMP the people love the street dogs. Almost all of the street dogs are community dogs and we have to give a lot of education and explanation promising to return the dogs back after their shots and operations. It is two months since we began here and almost 120 dogs have undergone the project. And we intend to cover all the dogs which are within the vicinity of 30 km. the radius of the shelter.

Aside from the special outreach area we continue to help the dogs in Visakhapatnam and nearby areas and 500 dogs have gone through our ABC program in these past two months.

It is our intention being the only animal welfare organisation (AWO) on the Andhra Pradesh coastline to garner local AWOs nearby and to promote groups in taking up animal welfare and build a strong network. Our aim is to develop the best possible connections in the remotest of areas. Our objectives have been to train the locals, build compassion among the people, train for handling natural calamities, provide long-term medical benefits to the animals, help the people with their livestock and conducting such medical camps that induce love and care for the animals.

Ramayapeta village.

Ramayapeta village.
We rescued this mother dogs with her pups. She had taken refuge at the temple premises which seemed to be the only safe place left for them.

Our team

Our team
Our team together at Maipadu village after concluding the medical camp. Dr.Madivilatha – vet, Srinivas – animal helper, SK Saheb and other member volunteers.

We know it is a long road which is dependent on the resources but we will keep trying. Aiming at 20 villages to begin with in the first phase for the couple of months we intend to expand rapidly as we improve with more joining us and helping us.

In this regard has been the upgrading of all our medical equipments and medical protocols all aimed at providing the best at all circumstances whether at the Shelter or at the mobile camps.

Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights and United Animal Nations sponsored the recent wildly successful 10-day visit of Dr. Rick Bachman and veterinary technician Mike Bannasch to our shelter along with donations of medical equipment and vaccines from them and Dr. Bosmat Gal of Animal Rescue League of Boston as well as valuable training to improve medical protocols to allow the dogs to be released within 24 hours after the operation.

We are indebted to Pam Runquist of AVAR for organizing all.

It used to take four hours for the dogs to wake up but with the change in premed and the use of the new anesthesia machine the dogs have better recovery and this female dog (right) is waking up within half an hour after the operation on a cushion that maintains good body temperature. This is another improvement brought to us by the visiting American vets.

We are in a crucial critical phase but if we are unable to reach the full entire 600 kms with the comprehensive plans due to lack of resources we will still visit them to provide immediate relief measures for their animals and consult for them as necessary.

The extreme heat has been a major hindrance but we continue our work with the same enthusiasm. But with compassion from the people such as in the PMP community our job is more easily done as they will look after the street animals once we return them.

With your generous contributions we continued building up relations in our camps around those areas at the time of the great tragedy and we began the most important camp from south of our shelter. We are particularly grateful to Best Friends for their recent support. With each contribution we are able to expand and help more animals in better ways but need continuing funds to maintain our ambitious and extended activities.

We pay our heartfelt thanks to all of you for making this a possibility. Regards from all at VSPCA.

Tsunami animal relief report February 16th, 2005

Ramayapatnam village with mamalnourished cows and progenies. Needed immediate good food and medical treatment. Scenes like these are deplorable and the animals are further vulnerable being tied up by their owners. They were provided special and extra feed for many days and vaccinations.

The boy Ramu is 12 years old and he studies in the seventh standard at Bhimli. He stays in Uppada village about 8 kms from Bhimli and his village is covered by our sea turtle protection campaign. He supports around six dogs near his hut and his village has more than 20 dogs. He saves his dogs by paying off some RS. 20 per dog to the dog catchers.

He reports that on the 26th December since 4 AM the dogs nearest to him were barking in a long monotonous manner facing the beach. From his village one cannot see the seawater because of the high sand dunes. Along with these dogs the entire troup of 20 dogs were barking. And they did so until 7 AM (just before the tsunami hit). His father was angry at this abnormal barking and asked Ramu to stop the barkings but failed. So he was complaining about these barkings which never they witnessed before and he raised this question at the meeting. The dogs knew and made the villagers wake up. Generally, the fishermen go for fishing by 3 AM but in this village, the fishing occupation is now limited to very few people because of the tsunami damage while the remaining work for labours and other menial jobs.

In our continuing surveys and interactions along the coast (as this is the sea turtle season and we are continuing our sea turtle protection) we come across many reactions from the people. Here is our Pratap Singh, in charge of VSPCA wildlife committee. He lives in Visakha city close to the coast. He reports that on the morning of the tsunami all the dogs in his area (all of them fixed) were also barking since 5 AM looking towards the sea. It was not ordinary barks but related to some kind of great frightening.

Tsunami animal relief report February 10th, 2005

To all of you individuals who have helped in any with funds or interest to the below tsunami relief teams we are extremely grateful. Many of you learned about our efforts and of other worthy groups through the countless posting to compassionate animal group web sites worldwide and to this we are very thankful.

The following organizations, who all of whom help animals worldwide, quickly wired funds to make all of this possible. For their faith in our work and for their sponsorship we are indebted to Animal People News (USA), Best Friends (USA), The Ahimsa Foundation (USA), The Winsome Constance Kindness Trust (Australia) and The Fondation Franz Weber (Switzerland) and donations of equipment and expertise vet visits from AVAR - Assoc. of Vets for Animal Rights (USA) making this a true multi-continental relief effort!

Report from Tsunami Animal Relief Camp at Andhra Pradesh coastline (Nellore and Prakasam districts) total distance covered is 200 km. from Nellore to Ongole from the 1st Feb. to the 10th with our preliminary team in Nellore previously.

Cattle heroines and heroes

Previously we wrote about the hero beach dogs of India warning many people to flee before the tsunami struck. The VSPCA tsunami animal relief team is now reporting that the surprise heroes and heroines are the cattle! Being acute observers of animal behavior the villagers interviewed have told that most of the tied cattle were moving restlessly back and forth indicating impending danger and wanting to escape. Some bulls and buffalos even broke away from the tied poles. Therefore in Iskapalli Panchayat (village) by their sensitivity to the animals warnings there were no deaths at all despite this village being in imminent danger from the canal and sea waters.

Sweet cow getting needed medical attention

Sweet cow getting needed medical attention
As a reminder, it was not long ago that so many millions of cows were killed in Europe for this disease but in India, it is treated and the animal is often saved.

The animals share the miseries of the effected people and their admirable contribution towards saving lives shows their integration into the overall society. Our hard working team took this opportunity to bring humane awareness on the frontline beaches to care for the animals giving treatment and feed. Providing confidence that apart from their livestock of chickens, goats, and cattle – the dogs and cats are also useful to them as their presence in their midst was crucial.

Awareness Camps

The success of this awareness camp made us decide that long term measures/projects need to be implemented for the entire coast of Andhra Pradesh. We will coordinate with local animal welfare organizations for beter efficiency. We need continuing donations for the immediate acquiring of mobile techniques and top quality veterinary procedures. An exclusive mobile vehicle would be a very major boost to render such camps and to attend to natural disaster quickly.

With modes of transport varying from four, three and two wheels and even on foot as the roads are inaccessible on many areas, we have visited where there are hardly ten families indicating how remote and secluded they are. Heartening to observe the dog companions are maintained.

Our efforts included rescuing animals to safer places like the dogs and cattle especially. Special cattle feed, tonics, vitamins and other continuing medicines were distributed with the villagers. Where the animals like dogs have been strays help has been rendered by means of abundant food and water with identification of sympathetic families that will continue to feed them. With our good relationship maintained in place as we provided help to their livestocks the inspiration to come back and continue to help them has made the stray animals a part of their lives. Counselling was made to those villages more affected in terms of immediate rescue measures.

Ramayapatnam village with mamalnourished cows and progenies. Needed immediate good food and medical treatment. Scenes like these are deplorable and the animals are further vulnerable being tied up by their owners. They were provided special and extra feed for many days and vaccinations.

Most of the villages (listed below) are in danger of the Buckingham canal that runs through. Some have been inundated badly trapping the village as they were surrounded with the sea and the rising canal water. It was a very lucky escape for many that water receded immediately after it came in but not before destroying the valuable bridges, fishermen huts, their nets and covering their fields with the salt water leaving the surviving grazing animals with not much to feed in. There were some villages which escaped as the high sand dunes protected them and also a village that had sufficient trees to save them. The uprooted shrubs and trees have borne the attack of the waves saving precious lives.

Additional information:

  • Camp Relief Team attendance J. Rajasekhar – Joint Secretary and Deputy Shelter Manager, VSPCA
  • Ramulu – Animal Helper from Goshala section, VSPCA
  • Dr.Madavilatha – Veterinarian from Animal Husbandry Dept, Nellore
  • Dr.P.DevRaj – Veterinarian from Animal Husbandry, Kodavalur
  • SK K Shyab – Paramedic

Villages covered (mostly on the front coastline within 500 metres of the ocean): Gangapatnam, Pallepalem, Maipadu, Thurpupattapalem, Padamal Pattapalem, Kollumtapalem, Krishnapatnam, Koduru, Muthulathopu Patapallem, Beason (Krishnapatnam LightHouse), Nelaturupalem, Pedapatapalem, Venkatanarayanpurm, Laximpuram, Venkatareddipalem, Gouripuri, Alganipadu, Iskapalli, Thatichetakapalem, Pothibangarpalepalam, Angaripalems, PedaRamudupallem, Kareduvaripalem, Shrirampuram, ChinnaRamudupallem, Ottaru, Pedanattu, Chinnanath, Thumalapenta Pattapalem, Chennayapallem, Ravunpalapallem, Ramayapatnam, Ulavapadu, Palapallem, Chakichardapalem, Chinnachakicharlu, Reddypallem, Alagyapalem, BottiSangyapalem, Karedu, Singarayakonda, Pallalapalipalem, Ulapalem, Madnupeddapalem, Ethamukala, Rajupalem, Kothapatnam, Pattepalem, Chinthayaparipalem, Mekalasomayapallem, Ankammachelapalem, and Chinnammagaripathpalem.

Kind regards from Pradeep Nath,
President and Founder, VSPCA

Tsunami animal relief report - January 21st, 2005

For tsunami-affected animals covering four districts (from Uppada to Ongole) of the province of Andhra Pradesh on the east coast of India up to 400 km from our home base in Visakhapatnam.

Our team consists of:

  • Rajsekhar – Deputy Shelter Manager and Joint Secretary, VSPCA
  • Dr. Vellavan – Shelter Vet, VSPCA,
  • AdiBabu – Animal Helper, VSPCA,
  • Rayudu – Business man (supplies dry hay) and our executive member and the lorry driver and his cleaner

We are entirely indebted to Dr. Bosmat Gal of Boston, MA USA who gave up her own busy clinic to rush here as a visiting volunteer vet sponsored by Association of Vets for Animal Rights. Because she has been working at our shelter of 700 animals it allowed our vet who speaks the local dialects to go out in the teams.

Leaving from where our first team out of Vizag had been to Uppada the second team continued with more material and medicines which covers four major Districts of Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and East Godavari. The team left to Machilipatnam first which was most hit as per reports. More than 20 villages were covered.

Most of the villages affected were those within 500 meters to 1 km to the sea when the water came with huge velocity and height wrecking along its way from concretes to anything livings. Many people lost their lives and belongings and their livestock.

Most of the affected animals consisted of goats and cattle. Cats deaths were rare and while some dogs every other dog sensed and ran away. They sure seemed to prove that they remain quite intelligent to such disasters and escape. Goats died mostly as they were in proximity to the sea grazing on beach grass and they could not sense the impending danger or might not have recognised the uneasiness of the dogs who were far away to provide any signals.

Those goats that survived were found to be injured on the legs and behind and most goats suffering from swallowing of the sea water vomiting and loose motions that led to dehydration. They were all treated by our team throughout these villages. Infact half of the deaths have happened within a day. Our team helped them with all the necessary items and provided the needed counseling because as per reports neither Govt. team nor any govt. vet visited the areas for providing any help and these people just depend on their own methods.

Village Suryalanka. One of the many stranded totally malnourished cattle on or near the beach. Nearby plants are thorn ones that is a good natural protector of the sand beach but the cattle cannot eat. This one was given special feed and IV fluids. Obviously as this was untied because it is a male one which people seem it as useless. Ironically the valued female cows were tied and have died. Official reports told of 163 cow dead as per Animal Husbandry but our team has reached places where the department has not been.

It is not easy to reach these villages as it is very very inaccessible and four wheelers are very difficult. No autos or taxis would come in. Very tough conditions. The effected animals in question are goats, buffaloes, few cows and progenies, few dogs and cats.

Dogs along the beach were fed by our team who did not have any owners but with all their intelligence and survival fitness have become a source of great good omen to the villagers. Dogs have escaped but they needed help towards food and water which they did not seem to be getting. And it is now important to use this good relationship to do the spay neuter and provide the vaccinations to the dogs as the villagers will protect them now.

A baby goat being bandaged at Rathanpu.

Current totals are 26 dogs, 156 cattle, 237 goats, 9 cats looked after by our team.

Would like to mention as per the villagers of Machilipatnam the deaths would have been huge had not the dogs and goats were behaving in an abnormal manner and running away from the shore. One of the fishermen by name Mastan stands testimony to this also. This was the worst effected areas.

They have reached to Ongole where another 15 villages needed to be covered and as per Nellore officials and people it is this stretch that is most affected and needs all the help. The four day Pongal holiday was on the way and nobody wanting to move at all we organised from Wednesday assessing the situation with the help of Nellore friends while providing another team from 24th with all the help needed to these areas.

Our objective is not to turn our back once the treatment and help is provided but continue to come back in regular time and maintain a relationship bridging the gaps between the animals and humans as one seemed dependent on the other for survival. We aim at ABC for dogs, veterinary camps with the goats and cattle. We are working with Foundation for Animals, Nellore in this respect also. Our next team will meet them at Nellore city on 24th Jan with best vehicle and staff.

Our objective is not to turn our back once the treatment and help is provided but continue to come back in regular time and maintain a relationship bridging the gaps between the animals and humans as one seemed dependent on the other for survival. We aim at ABC for dogs, veterinary camps with the goats and cattle. We are working with Foundation for Animals, Nellore in this respect also. Our next team will meet them at Nellore city on 24th Jan with best vehicle and staff.

So let us begin where the support is and where the people love the animals. For VSPCA it means more employment and more food and expenses. Our long term goal in some of the villages we have made inroads into is to do ABC (animal birth control) for dogs, veterinary camps for goats and cattle, community participation, and to achieve all this we also need to care about the villagers. It is highly ambitious but this is the opportunity I have been dreaming about – to bring animal welfare to all of our province of Andhra Pradesh and with all of the help I am getting to do what is possible. So as we starting with our neighbouring coastal villages as we are already there monitoring sea turtles and then we can continue where there are approachable people and animal welfare organizations to coordinate with.

One of the cows at this village being examined though seemed healthy but no owner. Our lorry filled with feed in back.

Tsunami animal relief report - January 8th, 2005

Dear friends,

The amazing news is the endless stories of the beach coast dogs here giving the much needed warning to the residents or the fishermen and were seen to be very uneasy that gave sufficient warnings to the people to be alert. Water entered into their homes but not before they had time to flee and with them the few livestocks. The photo below shows a brown dog that now has become converted into a community dog by these people who care for him.This has been the effect throughout the 11 villages that our team visited. We have provided counsel to the affected people and fed or rewarded the beach dogs giving the hungry ones --- first food and water and brought around a relationship between the humans and animals in this phase. ABC (animal birth control) will now work here 100% do to the sympathy and loyalty the people now have to these street dogs.

It has also provided us ample proof that nature should not be interfered and nature's products alone can deal with nature's fury. Animals have the distinct advantage and they are the best scientists who can predict. Hoping they will take the lead to save the earth.

So far we have covered 400 kms but our teams are still out and we are hoping to cover a total of 700 kms. as there is no one else covering the Andhra Pradesh coastline and more difficult situations will arise no doubt as we go further south. We are worried about a half a dozen Districts at AP. Human deaths in AP about 1000 with animal deaths only 163 cattle (tied up) reported so far.

We rescued many pet dogs when the water from the sea was within one km from us all. The water was coming at a great force diagonally hence the entire activity was towards the Town Area and the inner harbour where the water swelled and started to overflow. We tried to catch the dogs running after their fleeing owners and also trying to plead with the owners to take the pets.

With our ABC (animal birth control program for dogs and cats), rescuing of cows and progenies, migratory birds, sea turtles, SOS animal (700 different animals at Shelter to look after) projects seriously at advanced stages we give our priority to the Tsunami animals .

I end here to come with more in the coming days. All kind of help is greatly appreciated. I am very thankful to all of you for your deep concern. The Tsunami has brought out in us the togetherness.

P.S. Very briefly re the sea turtles they are coming in dead but we cannot conclude that they have died due to Tsunami because they come ashore dead usually at this time of year because of the trawling nets. Every year we lose thousands of Olive Ridleys turtles. I feel like the other wild animals, the sea turtle would have survived. Hours before the tsunami, I was there with a volunteer at 5 AM marking the two nestings at RamaKrishna beach opposite the Yoga village and the hopeless submarine that is permanently affixed on our beach. Three days after the Tsunami hit seven more nestings were recorded. Our volunteers are along the coasts of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam are protecting the incoming turtles for breeding.

Warm regards,
Pradeep Kumar Nath