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FOUR PAWS heads to India to help neuter and treat animals in need

2015-02-27

• FOUR PAWS vet team supports local vets to neuter and treat animals in Chennai
• World Spay Day this week aimed to highlight long-term benefits of spaying and neutering



© FOUR PAWS | 2015

Chennai (India), 27.02.2015 – A team of vets from the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS last week travelled to Chennai on the South-East coast India to treat, neuter and vaccinate injured stray dogs, as well as other animals in need, in cooperation with local animal welfare organisation Blue Cross of India. For two weeks, FOUR PAWS vets will provide free veterinary care to animals brought to them by the local authorities or members of the public.

 

For many years, vets from the Indian partner organisation, Blue Cross of India, have been neutering and treating hundreds of stray dogs per month. However, there are many more animal patients than vets. Every day, several trucks full of dogs and other animals arrive at the Blue Cross shelter requiring treatment, meaning a huge workload for the vets from early in the morning until late at night.

 

FOUR PAWS team leader Dr Anca Tomescu has been neutering and vaccinating dozens of dogs every day since arriving in Chennai. Furthermore, the team has been dealing with a large number of emergencies involving birds, apes, cows, snakes, dogs and cats.

 

“The Indian vets are very good, but they can’t manage alone the huge number of animals needing help”, explained Dr. Tomescu. “I am very happy to support Blue Cross of India. India is like a second home to me. It is a place where I can exercise my profession as a vet. The satisfaction that I feel after saving an animal cannot be described in words.”

 

Yesterday, an abused young, female dog was brought to the shelter with a broken jaw caused by a brutal attack by a human. In an operation which lasted several hours, Dr. Tomescu and her team were able to fix the jaw of the dog, who they decided to call “Darling” from then on. As the orthopaedic mask required for such an injury was not available, the vets constructed a makeshift protective mask for Darling out of a cola can. She is now recovering well.

 

Dr. Tomescu: “What is extremely emotional for me is the look of a scared dog like Darling which despite suffering terribly, begins to shake its tail happily after just a few caresses. Slowly, the dog starts to trust me and we become friends. I personally feel sadness inside of me and I wonder, every moment I see her, how she can still be so friendly to us humans after what she has experienced.” Dr. Tomescu is hopeful that Darling will find a loving home soon.

 

A short time later another huge challenge presented itself to the team. A pregnant, very weakened cow that could hardly walk was brought to the surgery. In another long and very strenuous operation veterinarians from FOUR PAWS and Blue Cross of India removed 25 kilograms of garbage, including plastic bags, wire and plastic bottles, from the cow’s stomach. “I am completely exhausted and I feel as if I had spent the whole day in the gym. It is unbelievable that such a quantity of garbage could fit into the poor cow,” said Dr. Tomescu. “The sight of such a mountain of rubbish should make people who throw trash on the streets aware of the impact it has, especially in countries like India where cows are roaming.”  It will become apparent within the next few days whether the veterinarians have been able to save the cow’s life.

 

FOUR PAWS started its first collaborative project with Blue Cross of India in 2007. Since then, the team has visited Chennai twice a year to provide veterinary assistance.

 

Background information about the work of Blue Cross of India:

In Chennai, the authorities began a catch and kill program in 1860, to solve the problem of stray dogs. Then in 1919, local authorities decided to legalize the catching and killing of any dog found on the street, without a namebadge. The number of stray dogs killed continued to grow after this period. However, after the mass killing of dogs for over 100 years, the problem wasn’t solved at all; cases of human rabies haven’t decreased, nor the number of dogs on the street.

 

In 1996, Blue Cross of India implemented an extensive Animal Birth Control programme, to catch and neuter stray dogs in Chennai and Japura. The programme was then expanded after the first six months around other parts of the Chennai region. The purpose of the ABC programme is not only to bring down the number of street dogs in a humane manner, but also to bring down the number of cases of rabies. After the implementation of the sterilization program in Chennai, the number of human rabies deaths decreased from 120 (in 1996) to five (in 2004).


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