India: Chennai: Bailing out Moksha, Mukti and all their friends, Part One

Moksha and Mukti
Moksha and Mukti

Moksha and Mukti almost missed the chance to spend their days playing tug of war with Ruffles, a gigantic yellow lab.  Ruffles is incredibly gentle with them.  They like to play with slippers, which is forbidden, but never mind.  The slippers end up on the sofa or outside in the garden.

The two adorable puppies arrived as part of a batch of 70 rescued beagle puppies. 45 went to the home of Dr. Nanditha and Dr. Chinny Krishna to be adopted out to carefully screened, loving homes.  All were healthy except that Mukti had a worrying spinal problem, and Moksha was rather skinny, so, naturally, these were the two that Dr. Nanditha Krishna decided to keep.

In November of 2012, a PETA representative had seen the 70 beagle puppies at the Customs Office in Chennai and had informed the CPCSEA (Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals) out of concern for the puppies.

In response, one of the CPCSEA committee members, Dr. Chinny Krishna, who is also Vice-Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India, looked into the circumstances of the puppies and how they came to be held by Customs.

Marshall BioResources, an American company in China, had bred the beagles and shipped them to India to be used for laboratory experiments.  They had been shipped on Cathay Pacific, although the airline had voluntarily undertaken not to ship any animals destined for laboratories.  The puppies had been mislabeled as “pets.”

There was a larger legal issue as well. It turned out that the CPCSEA had previously given ADVINUS labs, in Bangalore, permission to use 430 beagles in lab tests. ADVINUS is a toxicology testing lab that does contract laboratory testing for foreign companies – mostly pharmaceutical and agrochemical testing.

As a government body whose function is to regulate the use of animals in laboratories; the CPCSEA has no authority to prohibit testing; its powers are limited to ensuring that all guidelines are followed.

The question at hand was, did ADVINUS import the puppies legally?

Although ADVINUS, a member of the group of TATA companies, did have permission to use 430 beagles in testing, apparently those tests had already been completed.  It seemed that the 70 beagles were imported afterwards, and that would mean they were imported illegally.

When Dr. Krishna learned about the plight of the beagles, who were stuck in the Quarantine Station, he called the Chairman of ADVINUS, who was in Mumbai, and told him, that it looked like “these animals have been brought here illegally.”

The ADVINUS Chairman then flew from Mumbai to Chennai, with another company officer.  Joined by their chief vet in Bangalore, the three from ADVINUS sat down for a meeting with Dr. Krishna, and Dr. Shiranee Periera, of People for Animals (PFA), also a CPCSEA member.

Known worldwide, the TATA group has an excellent reputation for being above board. The ADVINUS company Chairman insisted that the puppies had not entered India illegally and said that he would fight the charge.  However, he also expressed a wish not to have the puppies suffer any further distress and said he wanted to release them so that homes could be found for them.

Normally, the puppies would be quarantined for 45 days, but the 70 puppies had already been in quarantine for 60 days, kept in cages the whole time, two to a cage.  It must have felt to them like being in jail. ADVINUS wanted them released for adoption, even though this meant that the company  had spent about $25,000 to procure the puppies and would be charged for their time spent in quarantine.

ADVINUS provided papers, legally releasing the puppies to the Animal Welfare Board of India, with the arrangement that they would then be consigned to the animal welfare organization, Blue Cross of India. The story wasn’t quite over yet though.  Getting an agreement for the puppies to be released was one thing, but actually obtaining their physical release was a different thing altogether. There were more hurdles to go.

Maneka Gandhi, well-known animal rights advocate who has held a number of ministerial posts in the government, and Dr. Chinny Krishna, spent a marathon of three weeks of intense negotiations for the actual, real transfer of the puppies out of Quarantine.

Talks took place with the TATA company, with the Quarantine people, with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance (in charge of Customs and Excise), and the Ministry of Environment and Forests.  There were visits to Finance Committees, to Customs officials in both Delhi and Chennai, and requests to about 30 other officials.  It took a lot of work….

To be continued in Part Two; click here.     

Photo: Dr. Chinny Krishna

To visit the website of Blue Cross of India, click here.  

INDIA: Hospet, Karnataka: Determined to rescue a camel


Manju Bod rescued camel resized


For two years, Manju Bond tried desperately to rescue camels from being slaughtered during the Bakrid festival, but failed. On the third year, 2012, as the time of Bakrid drew near, he was more determined than ever to save at least one  camel from a miserable fate.


During the Moslem Bakrid Festival, there is a tradition of slaughtering animals.


Unlike cows, sheep, and goats, camels are slaughtered only during Bakrid.


The town of Hospet in southern India, where Manju Bond lives, serves as a gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi, a place of ancient temples in a setting of giant, otherworldly boulders.


The Bakrid festival follows the lunar calendar, and last year, it was held in October as usual. Ahead of time, Manju set about gathering support from his animal welfare friends and searching for places where a camel might be concealed, before being slaughtered.


Camels are brought to the area just a couple of weeks before Bakrid; kept in hiding, given feed and water, and killed the night before the festival. Usually, they slaughter the camel at midnight when most people are asleep.


Finding the place where a camel was hidden was going to require getting people to talk. With a few drinks and a congenial atmosphere, this might be accomplished.


He offered drinks to a few likely-looking people, and the more they drank, the more they talked. He learned that around ten wealthy people had gotten together to purchase a camel from a far-away city. They had transported the camel and had kept him hidden in an isolated garbage area.


Just hours before the camel was to be slaughtered, Manju now had all the information he needed. Armed with knowledge of the location and other details, he was able to work out a rescue plan.


As soon as he knew that the camel would be slaughtered at midnight, Manju went looking for the camel and found him, all decorated for the festival, tethered inside a fenced area.


Manju was moved to tears seeing the camel who was about to be slaughtered. At least 500 people were looking forward to having the camel for dinner the next night.


He ran back to notify the animal people he knew, only to hear that, fearing retaliation and violence, they weren’t willing to join him in his efforts to free the camel. Finally, he tracked down the senior police officer in the area, and pleaded with him to rescue the camel —  while some of his friends got on the phone to the police superintendant, urgently calling for police support.


Manju took the police to the site where the defenseless camel was tethered. They freed him and led him away.


Transported to the police station, the rescued camel spent the night there in safety.


Now the camel has a new life at a goshala (a cow sanctuary), where he will be out of danger and cared for for the rest of his life.


Manju Bond, with single-minded focus, has so far rescued from slaughter and found sanctuary for eleven cows, two buffaloes, one other camel in addition to this one, and one pig.  He’s also rescued 25 homeless cats.  All saved by the efforts of one person, with bravery and determination.


Photo: Courtesy of Manju Bond

To visit Manju Bond’s Facebook page, click here

Chennai, India: A calf saved at Pongal.

the calf with Sheela
the calf with Sheela



During the festival of Pongal, having just returned from successfully rescuing a cat who was down a 35 foot well, Dawn Williams, General Manager of Blue Cross, set off again immediately, as soon as he heard about a calf in dire straights.


Three Blue Cross volunteers, Mr. Anand, Mr. Murali and Ms. Jennifer, had come across the calf under the Dr. Ambedkar Bridge, near the big shopping center, Chennai Citi Centre. Sadly, they had been heading home following the funeral of their dog, Shearu.  They spotted the calf lying on the road, weak and sick, looking just about a week old.  The male calf had not seemed very useful to whoever his original owner had been, and now, having been abandoned, he could be found by a passerby and sold for slaughter.


In fact, a person claiming ownership of the calf did show up, around the time that Dawn arrived, demanding payment, and insisting that he would not allow the calf to be taken away until he was paid first.


Dawn, who could see clearly that the calf was not being cared for by anyone, stood up to the man, threatening to have him arrested.  Seeing that he would get no payment, the man left, leaving Dawn to rescue the calf.


Dawn rushed the calf, who was very weak, to Madras Veterinary College, where he was put on an IV and stabilized.


In the meantime, Ms. Sheela, a Blue Cross volunteer, was preparing a feeding bottle with milk for the calf to feed him just as soon as he arrived back at Blue Cross.  With such good care, the calf was soon feeling a little more energetic.


Thanks to quick action by Dawn and Ms. Sheela, the calf is expected to recover.  The festival of Pongal is all about the protection of cattle.


To visit the website of Blue Cross, click here.



The visit Blue Cross’s Facebook page, click here.


Photo: Courtesy of Blue Cross




Costa Rica: A second chance for Katrina





By Davide Ulivieri

Cycle 4 Strays


Her coat had once been shiny and white, but now was matted and streaked with grease. Her ribs showed and she was panting in the sticky tropical heat. Still, she smiled. She ambled inside the indoor Futból 5 stadium where we were hosting a local spay and neuter clinic without hesitation, eyes bright and tongue hanging sideways.


She drank at length from the water bowl we promptly offered and let us gently nudge her inside a pet carrier. Less than half an hour later she started to stir, waking up from the anesthesia, spayed, vaccinated, nails trimmed, dewormed and Frontlined. Her surgery had lasted not quite three minutes, one of Dr. Rivas best times ever.


We gently loaded her onto the back seat of a small sedan and drove her to Carla’s home to give her a chance to rest and recover.


The next morning she wolfed down a nice helping of food and introduced herself to the other resident dogs with such playful enthusiasm that they cheerfully accepted her as the new member of the gang.


We named her Katrina and promptly set out to find her a good, permanent home.


Young and energetic she played, ate, rested then played some more. When she slept, she did so soundly snoring softly and twitching her legs, lost in doggie dreams. Overnight, she went from dodging cars, scavenging for food in the gutters, curling up to fend off the chill of the night to the life that every sentient being should have…



When we invest our resources in preventing suffering, we turn off the flow of puppies and kittens slowing it to a trickle, one that is easier to handle.


Low cost mass spay and neuter does exactly that…


When you support our programs, you extend a helping hand to dogs like Katrina, making sure that she won’t contribute to creating another generation of homeless beings.


…Without animal welfare, there is no community welfare and, vice versa, our own welfare begins with theirs.


Less than $20 does it. It covers the cost of Katrina’s surgery, her vaccines and deworming treatment. It prevents misery and suffering. It gives hope to the hardworking volunteers that tirelessly continue their advocacy work, delivering without asking anything, simply because they care, because it is the right thing to do.


Thank you on behalf of Katrina and her never-to-be-born puppies. Deep down in her heart she is forever grateful. And so are we, grateful that is. Help us continue to do the right thing: one community, one surgery, one Katrina at a time.



To read this story in its entirety, as well as other success stories on the SNIP website, click here.



Photo: Courtesy of SNIP



India: Chennai: Puppy’s mom helps with rescue

Mom licks her rescued puppy

Midway through the morning, a man called Blue Cross about a puppy he said had fallen into a well.


Rushing to the scene, Dawn Williams, Resident Manager of Blue Cross, along with volunteers Mr. Mohit and Mr. Sushant, arrived at the field, to find that the caller didn’t seem to be there, and there was no way to reach the well to rescue the puppy.


The well was in the middle of a paddy field, but security guards wouldn’t allow them to go through the fence. Finally, a helpful by-stander, Mr. Nagaraj, took them aside and led them to a short cut to get into the paddy fields.  There they found, not one well, but four wells, about 500 meters (1500 feet) apart from each other.  Which one had the puppy fallen into?


Out of nowhere, a dog came up to them, whining, then running around their feet in circles. The dog, who was the mother dog, led Dawn and the volunteers straight to the right well, about one kilometer (.62 miles) from the road.  Peering over the edge, they could see the puppy down below.


With Mr. Mohit and Mr. Sushant holding ropes, Dawn bravely went down into the well to rescue the puppy, bringing her safely out.

Puppies with their new people


Both puppies have now found very happy homes. Ms. Janani Kamakshi adopted the puppy who fell into the well, and Ms. Revathi adopted the sibling.

The mother dog was rescued too and will be spayed as soon as her health is a bit better.


Blue Cross’s ABC-AR (spay/neuter, anti-rabies) program has been helping community dogs in Chennai for over sixty years, preventing the birth of many thousands of puppies that would have been homeless, and finding homes for rescued puppies.  Blue Cross helps animals of many species, including cows, cats, pigeons, and pigs.

To visit the website of Blue Cross, click here.

To visit their Facebook page, click here.

Photos: Courtesy of Blue Cross



The Medicine Woman

By Sriya Narayanan

Quite a lot can be done to help working animals. Rosalind Rengarajan’s insights into human nature have changed many of these magnificent animals’ lives for the better and her service to them could well be a template that everyone can use to educate the public about animal welfare.

When senior citizens Rose and her husband Rengarajan started Sheba Vet Clinic in 2000 at Chennai, with the help of a donor who chose to stay anonymous, their goal was simple: provide free and high-quality medical care to animals whose owners could not afford private veterinary care. As the years went by, hundreds of people who lived on the edge of poverty brought their animals to Rose’s clinic where veterinarians administered life-saving drugs, pain-killers and dispensed advice on how to care for the animal. It was not uncommon to see a long queue of animals outside their St. Thomas Mount establishment. Rose’s vets are always at hand, sourcing medicines, diagnosing illnesses and saving those that are fortunate enough to be brought in on time.

As word spread, the number of Rose’s beneficiaries increased, and with this development came another welcome opportunity: a chance to talk to owners about treating their animals right. The medicine people as they were popularly known, found that providing veterinary treatment for a wound for instance, increases the owner’s empathy for the animal’s pain and makes them reconsider physical abuse. She has gently advised bullock cart owners to refrain from whipping or overloading their beasts, and to return to her clinic for free treatment whenever the animal needed it. She is optimistic that there has been a change in attitude amongst her human visitors and it is this accomplishment that motivates her to continue operating the clinic despite the mammoth challenges that were thrown her way.

When donor funds ran out in 2009, Sheba Vet Clinic appealed for funds and the media covered their good work as well. However, the clinic had to shut shop when donations failed to cover operating costs. Rose’s husband Rengarajan had a stroke very soon after this, and passed away a few days later while in intensive care. Rose was now at the crossroads. Despite her grief and lack of resources, she reopened Sheba Vet Clinic on a smaller scale and reached out to the animals that needed her desperately. Tamil Nadu has no government veterinary hospital that can provide medical care for animals belonging to underprivileged people and Rose felt that the clinic was the only way to make a lasting difference in the voiceless workers’ lives.

She continues to feel a sense of deep satisfaction every time a bullock with gentle eyes is relieved of his pain and is led away by an owner who has had a change of heart. She remains a blessing to distraught pet-owners who don’t have the money for a taxi to the vet, let alone medication or surgery. Rosalind has always set aside her own pain and focused on that of others. As for the lucky four-legged ones who find themselves at her door, they have arrived at the one place where they can ask for help and will not be turned away.


Renrose Animal Care Trust is a registered charity with Sec 80(g) tax exemption. To contribute to the running of the clinic, contact Rosalind Rengarajan at


Photo: Peter Horvath / / A goat.