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A mini ambulance for small animals in Madurai

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Two animal rescuers in the city have started an ambulance service for injured dogs, close on the heels of Chennai getting India’s first ambulance for street animals

Two animal rescuers in the city have started an ambulance service for injured dogs, close on the heels of Chennai getting India’s first ambulance for street animals

A few months ago, Mayur Hassija struggled to get a poisoned dog to the hospital as five autorickshaw drivers refused the trip. The dog was extremely unwell and the drivers told him the strong smell would linger, making it difficult for them to ferry school students and other passengers thereafter. Eventually, one driver agreed but charged him ₹1,000 for a distance of three kilometres.

He took this up with members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In a recent meeting, the Joint Director (Animal Husbandry) was asked by the Madurai district Collector to see if a vehicle could be provided exclusively for injured animals in the city, he says.

Sick and injured animals are already dehydrated and to be able to treat or transport them in the comfort of an air-conditioned car is less stressful
| Photo Credit: K V POOORNACHANDRA KUMAR

A dog rescuer and an animal rights activist, Hassija spends his day attending to calls regarding injured animals and providing them with basic treatment. He often picks up stray dogs from the streets of Madurai, feeds and rehomes them after vaccinating, neutering or spaying them at the vet’s. For the last four years, he has been driving around in his two-wheeler and attending to injured animals and in case of emergencies also transporting the animals to the Government veterinary polyclinic for treatment.

Three months ago when the Blue Cross of India launched a full-fledged ambulance service for street animals in Chennai, Hassija reached out to friends, donors and animal welfare activists. On May 17, a surprise call from A V Ashok, who feeds dogs in Thavuttusandai, made his day: “He said he had seen me struggle to arrange for transportation for injured dogs and wished to donate a vehicle.”

Madurai gets its first ambulance for small animals

Madurai gets its first ambulance for small animals
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

And Madurai got its first ambulance for small animals. It is now available 24×7 for emergencies. The last 10 days have been busy for Hassija, who has modified the vehicle by removing the rear passenger seats and equipping it with a basic first-aid medication kit, a dog-catching net and cage. He now plans to fit a small stretcher, as he is able to drive longer distances for rescue. He picks up two-three community/stray dogs every day, other than responding to calls he receives.

Sick and injured animals are already dehydrated and to be able to treat or transport them in the comfort of an air-conditioned car is less stressful, says Hassija. “We are trying our best to make the world a better place for animals,” he adds and is hopeful that the district administration would be able to get a full-fledged ambulance for on-site treatment for the city’s street, sick and injured animals soon. “It will be a game changer,” he believes.

The city has close to 50,000 stray dogs (as per WHO guesstimates of 3,000 stray dogs for every 100,000 human population) and the number of cases of animal accidents is appalling. “We are striving to save their lives with timely treatment,” says Hassija, who offers the ambulance service free of cost. Sometimes, kind individuals pay for fuel, he says. Hassija has also petitioned the Collector for a shelter and a crematorium for stray animals.



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