Ever since the city went under a lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a team of volunteers and staff from the Blue Cross of India has been working to ensure that stray animals on deserted roads do not starve.
A team of 10 staff and volunteers have been making trips to feed stray dogs in the city.
“This includes the Marina and the Elliot's beaches, as well as the IT Corridor, the Guindy Industrial Estate and Parry’s Corner. These areas have a high concentration of people as well as eateries, and it is here that most stray dogs can be found,” said Dawn Williams, general manager.
Mr. Williams said they were focussing on areas where there was no one around to feed stray dogs.
“In some areas, residents themselves have been taking care of stray dogs, ensuring that there are water bowls in place. To other areas, we take rice, dal and soya for the stray animals,” he added. In many areas, volunteers have fed stray cattle.
Nearly 200 kg of rice, 30 kg of toor dal, soya powder and ghee are being used every day to cook food for the stray animals.
Srikanth Ramesh, a volunteer with the Blue Cross, said a small team had been visiting the Marina beach, feeding over 200 stray dogs and around 40 puppies, found on the 5-km stretch. “As volunteers, we don’t travel in large groups, ensuring that we maintain physical distancing. We also wear protective gear. At the Marina beach, many stray dogs hide below carts or food stalls, so it takes us nearly five hours to feed all of them,” he said.
A few days back, the volunteers found a horse that was tied up malnourished. They have started feeding it now.
“With temperatures rising, we found many animals weak and dehydrated. We plan to collect containers from people and install water bowls throughout the stretch. We are also going to take medicines, including de-worming tablets, for the animals, from our next visit,” he said.