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Floods >> Work done by NGOs  >> People for Animals


Dear Friends of Animals,

Finally, it has stopped raining in Mumbai and Maharashtra and life is coming to normalcy after the devastating floods. People are now trying to help flood affected people in different area and so the animal welfare organization also. Members of “People for Animals, Mumbai” along with 5 Veterinary Doctors of “Bombay Veterinary College (BVC)” visited the flood affected areas of Mumbai on Wednesday, 3rd August 2005 .

List of PFA members and veterinary doctors:
Dr. Deepa Katyal                                 – Trustee, PFA (Vet. Doctor).
Mrs. Thrity Guzdar                               – PFA Member.
Mrs. Armighty Tirandaz                        – PFA Member.
Mr. Dharmesh Solanki              – Managing Trustee, PFA.
Dr. Dinesh Vinherkar                            – Guest Lecturer, Dept. of Medicine, BVC.
Dr. Chandrakant Galdhar                      – PG Student, Dept. of Medicine, BVC.
Dr. Shahir Gaikwad                              – PG Student, Dept of Surgery, BVC.
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsalve               – PG Student, Dept of Surgery, BVC.
Dr. Merissa Lobo                                 – PG Student, Dept. of Surgery, BVC.  

We started our survey cum treatment work at about 11.00 a.m from Chembur. We then went to Kurla (E), Ghatkopar (E), Santacruz (E), Vakola and then to Goregaon (E). We could not cover other parts of Mumbai as it was 7.00 p.m by then.  

Most affected area was Goregaon where more than 2000 buffaloes have died. Now most of the dairies lie empty with no movements inside as the animals have died. Few dairies remained unaffected as located on higher areas and few dairies had some surviving buffaloes. As per one of the dairy owner’s information he had 8 surviving buffaloes from a total of 200 as they could release these animals, which swam to other area and could survive. The other owner informed that he has all his buffaloes survived the floods, because the water level could not reach beyond the neck region and the buffaloes stood with their head up for breathing and hence could survive.  (image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4, image 5 )

Few of the owners informed us that water started to collect after 8.00 p.m on 26th July 2005 and there was no electricity in those areas and hence could not release the animals. The water collected up to 12 to 14 feet height much above the buffalo’s height and hence these many buffaloes / calves and cows drowned and died. Also they informed that they never thought that this much water will get collected in those area as such thing had never happened in the history of Mumbai. Moreover, as the water started getting collected in the dairies the animals started jumping up and down to release themselves, but since they were tied with heavy metal chains could not do so.  

During our survey we found that the buffaloes were kept in very very cruel condition. They were tied with heavy metal chain all together and very close to each other. There was absolutely no place between two animals for movement. They have to eat in the same place and defecate in the same place. There is no exercise for these animals and hence they are standing / sitting and doing everything in the same place tied up throughout their lives.  

During our visit we found maggot wounds on many buffaloes on different parts of their bodies, and the animals were not even treated for their wound. We treated at least 25 of such animals and also gave free medicines to the owners.   

We also found 10 maggot wound stray dogs in different areas, from which one was very serious with most of its right hand side chest region eaten by maggots. This dog was admitted at the “In Defence of Animals” shelter in Deonar. The other animals were treated and released back in the same area.  

Many stray dogs and cats have died in this flood and there is no data available. Also many snakes, scorpions and other reptiles, etc have been killed by people as they immersed out of their hiding places due to floods. As per the data submitted by “All India goat and sheep breeders and dealers Association”, around 14000 (fourteen thousand) sheep and goats have died in the abattoir as they were locked in the room and no one to attend them during the flood. These people have submitted an application to the Animal Husbandry Dept. for a compensation of Rs. 2 Crore for the loss of their animals. Similarly, each dairy owner has also submitted such applications, but the amount and other details are not known.   

A team from Bombay SPCA had also treated many animals and they will be continuing this work in Bombay Region.  

Also, as per our meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, Animal Husbandry Dept., Govt. of Maharasthra, they are vaccinating large animals with the help of some students of Bombay Veterinary College to prevent the spread of any epidemic. They are not bothered about stray dogs, cats and other animals.

Hence, we have decided to tackle the outskirts of Mumbai and New Mumbai on Saturday, 5th August 2005 and Bombay Veterinary College has again pledged to help with more of their PG students for the help.  

Rehul Sehgal of Ahmedabad, Gujarat was supposed to arrive to Mumbai with all the resources and man power to help, but Gujarat itself is now under heavy rainfall and he is assessing the situation over there and accordingly, he will mobilize the resource to Maharashtra . I am in constant touch with him.  

Meantime, we want to continue our operation till Rahul reaches Maharashtra and hence, we have arranged for the man power for helping the animals, but we don’t have sufficient funds for buying medicines, vaccines, food / fodder and for transportation. We would be grateful, if you can help by providing some funds for the same so that we can continue our rescue and rehabilitation efforts.  

Yours Sincerely, 

Dharmesh Solanki
Managing Trustee,
People for Animals, Mumbai.
Office Address-Regd. Off. C/o P. N. Mehta & Co., 3rdth Floor, 
Thomas Cook Bldg., 
Flora Fountain, Mumbai – 400 001,
. Tel: 9821215661.
Aug 4, 2005



Dear Friends of Animals,
“People for Animals, Mumbai (PFA)” along with “International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and “Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) organized the third post flood relief work in Shelu Village, Tal: Karjat, Dist. Raigad on Friday 12th August 2005 with the help from “Bombay Veterinary College (BVC)”.   
List of PFA, IFAW & WTI members and veterinary doctors’ part of the relief work:

Dr. Deepa Katyal                         – Trustee, PFA (Vet. Doctor). 
Mrs. Thrity Guzdar               – PFA Member. 
Mr. Dharmesh Solanki          – Managing Trustee, PFA and Emergency Relief Team Member of IFAW & WTI. 
Mr. Jinesh Shah                   – PFA Member.
Mr. Aashish Waghe              – PFA Member.
Dr. Jayant Patil                   – PG Student, Dept. of Medicine, BVC. 
Dr. Vijay Kumar Tripathi       – PG Student, Dept. of Medicine, BVC.

The team of above members and veterinarians started at around 9.30am from Chembur and reached the first village called “Atnouli” in Taluka: Khalapur near Karjat at 11 a.m. trying to find out which localities had been affected by the floods and where animals were in distress. That particular village had not encountered any problems with flooding and we were told to move further ahead. So we roped in one of the villagers, who knew of the situation in and around that zone, to guide us and save time. We reached another village suggested by this man where we treated one dog for tick fever and other one for weakness. We immediately left from there to reach the flood affected village without wasting any time. On our way we also went about distributing biscuits and other food stuff to almost every dog in sight. Then we reached “Shelu” village, Tal: Karjat, Dist. Raigad and went to a tabela (stable) with 20 numbers of animals. The condition of the place was appalling. The buffaloes had been reared for milk production and were being fed on hay. There were also three calves, which were between 20 and 30 days old and one was older than these. One of them was male and was very sick, almost near death. Yet, he had been left unattended. Clearly, the stable-owner did not want to save that calf, but he also did not want to put him down because the calf’s presence was required to stimulate milk flow in his mother. Thus, the calf was dying a slow death lying in a pile of its own excrement. Two of us immediately started a drip on the little animal. It was a tough job because his veins had collapsed on account of weakness and general debility. The other vet along with our volunteers went about vaccinating the buffaloes against FMD (foot and mouth disease) and HS (haemorrhagic septicaemia). Yet another volunteer attended to a buffalo which had got a maggot wound in its horn. Meanwhile, much to our surprise and delight, the calf, after receiving about 500ml of saline, got up and began taking an interest in his surroundings. He began sniffing at the droplets of saline that had fallen on the grass and licking the fluid. We enquired with the stable-owner about the calf’s mother so that he could suckle, but the owner argued that he could not allow this because the animals had not yet been milked. The calf would drink up most of the milk if he were given the chance, he said, and promised that once the buffaloes were milked in the evening he would let the calf suckle. This, to us, was a most cruel thing to do, because milk is the natural source of nutrients for the calf and not for humans. Yet, thanks to human consumption and greed, the stable-owners deprive the babies of their rightful sustenance. This is the most pathetic thing about the dairy business in and around Mumbai – totally commercialized and without any feeling whatsoever. 
But since the owner was promising us that he would feed the sick calf after the animals had been milked at 4 p.m., we decided to take his word for it and left, but not before giving the calf another bottle of saline and Tetracycline as well as B-complex.
After we had vaccinated about 35 animals on the East side of this village, we moved on the west side of this village. Here, we went from house to house vaccinating the domestic animals of these poor farmers.
In this village we heard a heart-warming story about one of the residents who had rescued a cow belonging to another villager, which had been swept away by the flood waters, and kept it at his house until the waters receded. He not only saved the animal but also gave it a warm water bath, attended to its wounds, and cared for it. We could not help but notice the stark contrast between this man’s love for animals and the cruel greed of the stable-owner we had met earlier.
So we went from door to door, vaccinating cattle everywhere. It was a very tiring afternoon’s work, made worse by the injury suffered by Tripathi, one of the veterinarians in our team and such injuries are a professional hazard and a part of the day’s work, with the animals constantly kicking and stomping around. It must be noted, however, that sometimes these injuries can be severe and even fatal. Tripathi was lucky; he only suffered an injury to his hand.
The villagers supported and helped us throughout the vaccination drive. We also gave them a short lecture on the use – or, more correctly, misuse – of Oxytocin. We found that the tabelas on the east side of the village were using the drug without proper medical supervision to boost milk production, and warned them of the harmful effects in the long run. We also educated them on how to take better care of their animals. Some of the animals were pregnant (hence were not vaccinated) so we gave necessary instructions on prenatal care to their owners.
A total of 43 numbers of animals were vaccinated here before we decided to call it a day. On our way back home, we decided to stop by and check on the buffalo calf, which the owner had promised to feed after the evening milking session. But when we reached the tabela, we found that the calf had gone back to square one, thanks to lack of nutrition. He was once again lying down and could barely move. All this only served to confirm our earlier suspicion that the owner did not really want to save the little fellow.
So, after discussing amongst ourselves, we decided that it was best to seize the animal for proper medical treatment and care at the Animal Hospital in Mumbai. We grabbed the animal and put it in our ambulance, much against the wishes of the stable-owner who used abusive language and threats in an unsuccessful attempt to stop us.
On our way back we lodged a written complaint with the forest department against the cruel stable-owner and requested them to forward our complaint to the Animal Husbandry Dept. of that Village. The forest officials were cooperative and promised to forward our complaint to the right department.  
        The villagers informed us that many snakes had come out of their burrows during flooding and were not killed or harmed and were allowed to go on their way. Only one cow had died in the floods in this village as it had got stuck in the farm and drowned in the water. 
The villagers informed that government personnel had visited this village and distributed free food grains and Rs. 5000/- to each family, but nothing was asked or done for the animals. 
The team distributed fodder to poor villagers to feed their cattle, wherever required and fed biscuits to all stray dogs, which were found on the way and in village. The team also distributed free medicine to needy farmers, to treat their animals for external injuries. 
Then we reached Animal Hospital in Parel, Mumbai and admitted the calf in the hospital for proper care and treatment. The doctors immediately attended the animals and fed milk to the animal.

Report Prepared by:
Dr. Deepa Katyal
, Companion Animal Veterinary Practitioner & Trustee – PFA.

Dharmesh Solanki
, Managing Trustee, PFA & Emergency Relief Team Member – IFAW & WTI.

August 17, 2005