If you’d like to know more about sponsoring, adopting or donating to the well being and upkeep of strays and abandoned animals, get in touch In Defense of Animals in Mumbai to do your bit. Spread the cheer among the four-legged friends. Be it your child’s birthday or your anniversary, or a team building exercise from your work place – contact In Defense of Animals Mumbai to volunteer or sponsor an animal in distress that will not only soothe your soul but heal their wounds as well.
How to sponsor/ donate for a stray
Ms. Sudnya mentions, “We have nearly 150 dogs and 50 cats sheltered at our centre, either because they are old, blind, handicapped, abandoned by their families or abused by society. To cover the cost of their upkeep we have put up about 20 dogs for sponsorship, by which people contribute Rs. 300 per quarter, Rs. 600 half yearly and Rs. 1200 yearly towards their upkeep. The sponsor gets a photograph and a bookmark with a thank you letter from the sponsored dog. Funds received for these 20 dogs are of course used for all the sheltered animals, not just for them.”
Donating to IDA India can be either by (a) sending a cheque to the Dadar office (b) depositing cash or cheque directly into any Branch of Bank of Baroda (RTGS details are provided to donors who wish to do this) or (c) on-line donation by credit card by visiting our website www.idaindia.org.
Tips on adopting a dog/ stray
“For some reason we Indians have a liking for anything that is ‘foreign’ and this is true even for dogs and cats. People are willing to pay fancy prices to buy a Labrador, Pug, Dalmatian, Great Dane, etc. or a Persian / Siamese cat, but they do not realize that a dog is a dog whether of foreign pedigree or of Indian breed, explains Ms. Sudnya.
Why opt for an Indian breed
In fact Indian breeds are sturdier than these fancy breeds and have no health issues. The only time they go to a vet is for vaccination. A well cared for Indian mongrel looks as smart and handsome as any pedigree dog and gives the same love, affection and loyalty that a pedigree dog would give. She feels, “We Indians should overcome this fancy for foreign breeds and adopt Indian breeds.”
Secondly people do not undertake a study of the breed that they wish to bring home to understand the needs of the particular breed and whether they will be able to handle the breed. For example a Great Dane puppy may look cute, but once he grows up he needs huge quantity of food and plenty of exercise to remain fit and healthy. When the family cannot handle this, they merrily abandon the dog on the road to fend for himself. She further adds, “We have several such dogs brought into our centre, that are just skin and bones, because they have starved on the road perhaps for days before some one has approached us to rescue him or her.”
“I would like to suggest to any family adopting a dog or a cat, that if all the family members are out of the house most of the day and the dog or the cat has to live alone at home, they should consider bringing in two puppies or two kittens, so that they grow up together and give each other company, even when the family is away,” mentions Ms. Sudnya.
Keeping a pet, especially a dog, all alone at home all day is extremely cruel. Also if they are too busy and cannot spare time to walk the dog at least twice a day or bathe him weekly, then they should opt for a cat rather than a dog, as cats are ‘low maintenance’ animals.
They don’t need to be walked or bathed (they keep themselves very clean) and all that the pet parent has to do is to provide food at regular time and keep a litter box in the corner, to be cleaned out once a week. Of course, grooming a pet whether a dog or a cat must be done daily, as it not only creates a deep bond between the pet parent and the pet, but it also keeps the animal’s skin healthy and infection free.
How can you help the IDA
Ms Sudnya mentions, “People can help IDA India by donating towards our activities and by asking their friends and family to donate, by donating old blankets, towels, newspapers that can be used at the centre, by volunteering at our centres, by taking puppies and kitten into foster care until a forever home is found and helping to find good homes for them.”
Spreading the awareness begins at home
Ms. Sudnya lists out a few important ways that can help the animals and birds:
1) Keep a bird feed and water bowl in your balcony for the birds to feed, have a drink and frolic in the water. The water bowl should be flat, with a couple of inches deep water in it.
2) Take care of dogs and cats living in your area, by feeding them wholesome food at least once in a day, have them spayed / neutered, vaccinated annually and give them veterinary aid as and when required. We can learn to give first aid and take serious cases to the local vet.
3) Encourage prospective pet guardians to adopt an Indian Dog or cat instead of buying pedigree dogs at fancy prices from unscrupulous breeders, as dogs are dogs and give the same love, loyalty and devotion whatever their breed.
4) Teach children that confinement is the worst form of cruelty to an animal or a bird, whether at the zoo or the circus. Training them to do unnatural acts for entertainment is even worse. We must discourage children from keeping caged birds, by giving an analogy of how they would feel if they were stuck in an elevator for even a couple of hours.
5) Encourage your neighbors not to throw waste food in plastic bags, as stray animals especially cattle eat from the garbage along with the plastic bag, and even die due to loads of plastic bags collected in their stomachs.
6) If you see an ill or injured horse / bullock / donkey being made to work for drawing carts or carrying loads, we should stop him immediately, make the “owner” unload the animal, call the local police to book the offender under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and call a local vet to treat the animal.
7) Plant plenty of trees and ensure that they survive, as they give us shade and a cleaner environment, and also the birds get fruits to eat and build their nests on the branches.
8 ) If you spot wild animals like snakes / mangoose / monkeys / wild birds like parrots, muniyas, etc. that are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, being made to perform or sold on streets we should report to the police / Wild Life Department / Animal NGOs working for rescue of wild animals.
Finally, Ms. Sudnya adds, “If each of us can do our bit, we can bring in a change in the lives of these animals, and a change in attitudes of people towards these animals. If we all join this movement animals will get their rightful place in our society.”