Bengaluru: To a layman, animal shelter or animal rescue operations may not mean much, but it shows how our society treats those who cannot speak. In a city where animal cruelty seems to be on the rise, a few kind souls are continuing with their struggle to help animals. Like Surya Singh and his wife Anju, who have set up SAI – Save Animals India shelter located behind Yelahanka airport station – to help animals in distress.
Mr Singh’s journey started three years ago with the rescue of 37 dogs from another shelter in Kengeri. “Each dog at that shelter was in an extremely distressing condition and had tick-borne diseases. I just had to rescue them and provide them shelter,” he says.
“It was not just rescuing, but also feeding them, cleaning them and giving them medication for the diseases. I spent the whole day at a poultry farm that I had taken on rent to keep them and tend to them,” he remembers.
The shelter, started with this lot of dogs, now has 118 dogs. Surya is not just a man with a kind heart, he has also undergone animal welfare training and was earlier an animal welfare officer.
His operations are not restricted to just dogs. He has also rescued two cows whose owners were selling them to a local butcher as they had stopped milking. “I tried reasoning with them after I got to know about these two cows. But the owners would not budge, so I decided to buy the cows and take care of them. What people don’t understand is that just because animals stop being of use to them, they should not just get rid of them. It is sad. I get some 100 calls every day from people who want to get rid of their pets. This is the condition of our society,” he rues.
His shelter also has kittens. “There are volunteers who dump rescued animals at our shelter, promising us that they would come back to take them, but never do,” he says. His work is not easy. “It is not just the financial burden, but also the questions from the people who ask me why am I helping these animals when I am not benefitting monetarily? If not us, who else,” he asks.
Mobilising funds for animal welfare is always a tough job and he relies mostly on Facebook and other social media websites to seek funds. He only recently reached out to Milaap and has luckily been able to mobilise funds for the shelter. “After three years, since last month, we have been able to mobilise some proper funds for my shelter from Milaap, but getting there has not been an easy journey. Till now, we have mostly spent from our pockets,” he says. Mr Singh can also be seen burying dead dogs in his locality.
“People who hate dogs and call them a public nuisance should bear in mind that they are the most loyal creatures. The people should also bear in mind that in localities where there are stray dogs, lesser incidents of robbery and crimes happen. People should rethink their approach and treat animals with kindness. All these dogs want is love and food and it doesn’t hurt anybody to do that,” he says.