Namma Bengaluru: Post-death facilities not keeping pace with rise in pet population

The pet cemetery at Kengeri.

The pet cemetery at Kengeri.   | Photo Credit: K_Murali Kumar

Carcasses are often dumped near black spots or in vacant sites

While the number of pet owners in the city is growing with every passing year, the facilities to ensure that they can give their animals a dignified send-off remain woefully inadequate. There is only one animal crematorium run by the BBMP in Sumanahalli, which operates from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., apart from a privately managed pet cemetery in Kengeri.

The lack of facilities in the city centre and the fact that the civic-run crematorium is not open for longer hours is problematic, say pet parents.

Arun Prasad, an animal rights activist, said that ideally, the BBMP should make provisions to have either a crematorium or burial ground for animals in each of the eight zones. “Firstly, there is not too much awareness about the cemetery or the crematorium for animals. Both are situated near the city’s outskirts,” he said.

With no strong mechanism in place, carcasses of dead animals are often dumped near black spots or in vacant sites posing a risk to pourakarmikas. A similar point was made by the the CJ Memorial Trust, a not-for-profit trust focussed on creating awareness and advocacy for animals, which started a petition a few years ago highlighting the need to ensure that the animal crematorium functions round-the-clock. This way, the civic body will be able to avoid illegal dumping of animals or incorrect burial of pets across the city, it noted.

The petition urged the BBMP to mandate institutions, such as veterinary clinics and animal shelters, to collect and deposit the carcasses at the crematorium to be incinerated.

Another activist, who spoke to The Hindu but did not want to be named, said the existing facilities are certainly not enough. The activist alleged that the sole animal crematorium often did not work properly due to issues with power supply. “The city needs at least five facilities dedicated to interring animals with dignity.”

BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Animal Husbandry and Solid Waste Management) D. Randeep admitted that there is a need for more facilities in the city but said that the civic body does not have any plans to set up additional facilities. “The cost of electricity for running the existing facility at Sumanahalli is fairly high,” he said.

More awareness needed

When Anushka Narayan’s (name changed on request) cat passed away recently, she was at her wits’ end trying to find ways to bury or cremate her pet. Her family finally decided to bury the cat in their small garden in their home in Shivajinagar.

Many families who own pets are not aware of the animal crematorium that is maintained by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). It’s not just just the bodies of cats, dogs, rabbits and other pets that are incinerated there, but also some large domestic animals, such as donkeys, mules, buffaloes, cows, bulls and horses.

Opened in November 2015, the sole animal crematorium in the city has helped many pet owners and owners of domestic animals.

N. Penchalaiah, crematorium operator, told The Hindu that the facilities are mostly used by pet owners. Not many large animals are brought here. “In cases of road kill, though the pourakarmikas are not mandated to pick up dead animals, health inspectors send the carcasses to the crematorium,” he said.

The crematorium has two incinerators – one for small animals like dog, cat, rabbit, monkeys, sheep and goat and another for large livestock. The BBMP charges ₹300 for small animals and ₹1,000 for large animals.

Apart from the crematorium, there is also a pet cemetery that is managed by the People for Animals (PFA), a charitable organisation that rescues and rehabilitates urban wildlife. This facility, however, is expensive, compared to the BBMP’s animal crematorium.

Nawaz Sharief, general manager, PFA, told The Hindu that the pet cemetery is on the same premises as their animal hospital on Mysuru Road. With distance being an issue, PFA even offers to pick up pets for a fee (₹15 per km). The other advantage is that the pet cemetery is open 24/7, unlike the crematorium.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 3:58:40 AM |

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