CHENNAI: With animal welfare NGOs and the Madras Veterinary College falling short in providing ambulance services to needy animals, vehicles of local bodies are now converted into ambulances. The Chennai corporation stray dog catching vehicles known for handling feral and infected dogs is now used as an animal ambulance, violating animal welfare norms. This can trigger serious zoonotic infections including rabies, warn corporation insiders and animal activists.
In a recent case, the prestigious Madras veterinary college did not admit a dehydrated and handed over the animal to the adjacent Madras SPCA only to find the cow dead on Tuesday. While birth and death are common, the issue that has been going unchecked is the use of highly infected corporation vehicles to transport such ailing animals. “Corporation vehicles are often used as ambulances to carry animals and this poses a serious threat of rabies and other zoonotic infections, especially during the monsoon. Inappropriate handling of rescued animals also leads to spread of infectious diseases in them and can even prove fatal,” said a Madras SPCA life time member, adding that there are also cases of the Madras Veterinary College failing to take care of dogs abandoned by pet owners.
The death of a cow on Tuesday in SPCA highlighted how the MVC is not equipped during the weekends to admit ailing animals. While doctors at the Madras Veterinary College expressed their inability to admit the cow on a weekend and left it to an animal welfare NGO, the cow was carried in a corporation owned vehicle used to carry stray dogs, sources said. “The cow was in a flooded locality in Tambaram for a long time and needed medical aid. Hospital authorities requested our NGO to oversee its health and provide for food for a day, but neither doctors nor any staff members turned up to check it,” said a veterinarian who attended the animal. More than 100 animals are reported to have been rescued this monsoon by animal welfare NGOs, but the issue of zoonotic infections is neglected, posing a serious threat to public.