Animal Care is building staff quarters

Animal Care Trust (ACT) premises in Shaktinagar is “chaotic” now. Any person entering the premises is welcomed by a cacophony of bark, woof, howl and yelp from several dogs from their enclosures. One has to walk carefully to avoid tripping over puppies nosing around construction material. Then there the cats — some napping on the water tank and some others rolling in the sand.

All the animals are strays, brought to the shelter because they are ill, injured or homeless. The shelter also carries out animal birth control (ABC) measures on behalf of the Mangalore City Corporation. But the animals have all been shifted from their cages into other cages as the centre is constructing quarters for its employees on top of the building, which houses the dog ward. Till the construction gets over, the staff is stretching themselves and adjusting to ensure its daily work goes on uninterrupted as much as possible.

“There is no disruption of the work but it is chaotic,” said Suma Nayak, who is in-charge of the animals’ welfare at the centre.

The challenges now are that the animal kitchen is not functional. The office room is no longer there, so the four staff members, including two animal handlers and two para-veterinarians, have to manage somehow.

On the premises, there were 38 wards, which could accommodate 90 animals. While some of the wards are still being used, others cannot be used during the rainy season, which is just days away. The animals have been shifted to ‘Mathruchhaya’, which houses pregnant animals. Ms. Nayak said that luckily one operation theatre was in this wing, so it was not affected.

She said that the animal birth control (ABC) programme was “going on smoothly but in a little difficult circumstance. We can’t stop it, we can’t reduce it. There is so much pressure”. The centre does ABC for 200 to 250 animals per month (40 to 50 are operated each week.) This is not affected much as the animals are caught, operated upon and left back where they were found. She said, “We are sharing the space. ABC come and go so there is some vacancy.”

After the construction, the new blocks would be able to accommodate at least 20 persons — four workers and their families. Ms. Nayak said the construction would cost Rs. 22 lakh. Animal Care Trust has received Rs. 11 lakh as donations. She said the work could be wrapped up by August provided the can raise the rest of the money.

The centre is accepting donations in cash or kind. Till now, donors have given assorted tiles, bathroom requirements, stones, sand, paint, and used fans.

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