Chennai, India: A mother finds another son





By Rudra Krishna,


Blue Cross of India


Dear animal lovers, we always hear stories about dogs sitting at their master’s graves or pining away for their lost human companion; tales that, because we know the wonderful nature of dogs, we have no trouble believing. However, the narration of such a story always brings tears to one’s eyes and a lump to one’s throat, and is always worth sharing.


Dawn Williams, our General Manager, is always rushing around the city on rescues. He is, in fact, our unofficial extra rescue driver and paramedic rolled into one at all times, attending to as many emergencies as possible once all our other ambulances have started their daily rounds.


Consequently, he rarely gets time to stop and look around, but, being a former commando in the Indian Army, he’s extremely sharp and observant.


Sometime during the 1st week of August, while on a rescue mission in Avadi along with our volunteer Mukund from Caterpillar, they were going through a police check post where traffic is necessarily slow. As they passed an open graveyard, they noticed a dog sitting on a fresh grave. Considering that neither the presence of a graveyard nor the fact that dogs sit around them is momentous, they passed through.


On the 13th of August, when on another rescue mission along with Capt. Avinandan Mithra of the Indian Coastguard and, coincidentally, Mukund again, they were driving past that check post when, lo and behold, the same dog was on the same grave. They took a picture from a distance and hurried on, as they were attending to a cow in distress.


After the rescue, they drove back to the graveyard and tried to coax the dog away with biscuits and water, but he would just whimper and put his head down, refusing to budge. There was a liquor shop near the graveyard so the three gentlemen went over to ask about the dog. From the owner of the liquor shop and the adjacent cigarette shop, they learned that the dog had been the constant companion of an 18-year old boy from the same locality who had been hit by a speeding motorcycle and died, on the 2nd of August.


Dawn went over to the house everyone said was the deceased boy’s and located the youth’s mother. The mother informed our team that she had assumed that Tommy, the dog, had run away when her son died. The mother of the young man accompanied Dawn back to the grave. When he saw her, Tommy got up and went slowly to her. It was obvious that he hadn’t eaten much (if anything at all) in days. Tommy rested his head on her feet and cried some more, as the mother bent down and, lifting his head up, kissed him, before burying her face against his neck and crying.


Dawn told me that he and the team were sobbing like little girls as they watched the two bereaved souls comfort and find solace in each other. The mother picked up Tommy and carried him back to her house, telling our team, as she left, that she had wrongfully thought, because her only child had died, that she had nothing to live for.

With the words that she still had one son in Tommy, she thanked our team and the two went back home.


This is only the tip of the iceberg, as far as the loyalty and love an Indian dog can provide is concerned. Visit our shelter and adopt a dog in need. Remember, they will never forget that you saved their lives, and they will never stop looking for a way to pay you back.


Photo: Courtesy of Blue Cross of India


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



Chennai, India: Flamingo in the wrong spot, rescued


By Blue Cross of India, cross-posted from Blue Cross’s Facebook page

One of Blue Cross’s volunteers, Mr. Selva Kumaran, a student in AVIT College of Engineering, Mamallapuram, rescued a Greater Flamingo near a vacant plot at Ekkaduthangal and carried the bird, that had minor injuries, to the Velachery shelter.

The Flamingo weighed more than three kilograms (7 pounds) and was 3 feet 5 inches tall. After receiving first aid, the bird was transferred to the Zoological park. She is doing well with access to fish in a pond and is being given the best medical care.

Blue Cross and its volunteers rescue many animals every day.

Photo: Courtesy of Blue Cross of India.


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


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

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

Mukti looking for a treat; the lab number can be seen in her ear
Mukti looking for a treat; the lab number can be seen in her ear

This is Part Two; to read Part One first, click here.

While the marathon of talks was ongoing, Blue Cross was taking steps to get ready to receive the puppies.  Laboratory-bred puppies would have no immunity to real-world conditions, so great care must be taken not to expose them to any germs commonly carried by dogs.  For this reason, they couldn’t be kept on the grounds of a shelter, neither at Blue Cross nor at PFA Chennai. Even transportation for them would have to be in sanitized vehicles.

Blue Cross runs a 24 hour a day regular ambulance service for injured street dogs, with nearly a dozen ambulances on hand.  They took the two largest ambulances out of service for two weeks to fumigate them, disinfect them, and scrub them from top to toe.  Then they repainted the insides of the ambulances.  No germ was left alive.

At 4pm on Friday, Dawn Williams, representative of Blue Cross, went to the Quarantine Station, with papers in hand – the letter from ADVINUS, plus the notification from the Ministry of Environment and Forests authorizing the puppies to be handed over to the AWBI.

This was still not enough, however.  He was informed that since Customs had sent the puppies to the Quarantine Station, only Customs could get them released.

Dr. Krishna called the Chief Customs Officer for the whole of India, who was in a meeting in Delhi.  By 7pm, he had given his okay, and by 8pm, Dawn Williams was back at the Quarantine Station with the additional papers.  Everything seemed fine then, except that it was after dark, and it would be best to come back in the morning.

The indefatigable Dawn Williams returned at 8 am the next morning, which was Saturday, with the two ambulances to get the puppies. At 9:45 am, someone showed up, but nothing further happened, and at noon, he was still waiting.

At one pm, the Quarantine Officer appeared, and announced that he would need permission from the Minister of Agriculture to release the puppies.

Dr. Krishna made another round of 100 phone calls, trying to reach someone —  anyone who could do something. At last, in desperation, he called Mr. Doulat Jain, a former Vice Chairman of the AWBI.  An industrialist who is still a member of the AWBI, he was kind enough to contact the Agriculture Minister of India, who then instructed that the puppies be released.  By then, it was 5 pm on Saturday afternoon.

At 7pm, the puppies were at long last turned over to Dawn Williams. 25 of the puppies were immediately given to Dr. Shiranee Periera of People for Animals, Chennai, who adopted all of them out, on the spot, to pre-screened families. This took place just outside the doors of the Quarantine Office.

The other 45, under the auspices of Blue Cross, were loaded into the immaculate ambulances and made their way to the home of Dr. Nanditha and Dr. Chinny Krishna.

At 7:30 pm, the puppies arrived on a comfortably cool South India January evening, where they were kept in an enclosed garden that had been carefully cleaned and disinfected, outside one of the compound buildings.

Soon 100 people, buzzing with excitement converged on the scene, all anxious to get a glimpse of the puppies. There were forty-five pre-screened, qualified families. All had to have a family vet, and had to commit to getting their adopted puppies vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

Between 7:30 and 10pm that evening 28 puppies were adopted.  No adoption fees were charged, but  about half the families gave donations to Blue Cross.

The following night, Sunday, the 17 remaining puppies found homes. It was a happy occasion for both people and puppies.

Despite the joy of this truly happy event, Dr. Nanditha and Dr. Chinny Krishna noted that some of the 45 puppies could not bark.  They seemed to have been debarked.  Also, they were not normal size and seemed to have been bred intentionally to be dwarf beagles.

Moksha, Mukti, and all the others, have large numbers tattooed in their ears.  The numbers are an 8, followed by 6 digits.  Even if one assumes that the 8 is a batch number, that still means that the number of beagle puppies bred in the lab they came from is in the six figures.

The beagle pups were six months old by this time. They all, of course, needed housetraining.  Despite having been kept caged the entire time, Dr. Chinny Krishna says that every dog was “so friendly.”  These 70 innocent beagle puppies will now be blessed with a chance to have long, happy lives, and Moksha and Mukti can play with Ruffles.

Following the great love and care she was given, Mukti’s spinal problem vanished, as if it had never been.

This was a bright spot in a lengthy battle. The struggle continues in the long fight to arrive at a moment when all animals everywhere in the world are free from the threat of being used in laboratories.

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

Photo: Sharon St Joan

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.  

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




Chennai, India: A well rescue, pitch black and 150 feet down

On his feet again
On his feet again

At around 11am, Dawn Williams, General Manager at Blue Cross of India, received a call from a woman telling him that her three year old son had dropped two puppies down an unused bore well.  She could hear the puppies crying.

A Blue Cross volunteer, Mr. Kumaravel, went along with Dawn to the spot where the well was.

They arrived at the well, which was about 150 feet deep, only six inches wide, and pitch black inside.  In the past, Dawn has bravely climbed down a number of wells to rescue trapped animals and carry them up to safety, but with the well being only six inches wide, that wasn’t an option.

They lowered a light to have a better look. It was then, sadly, that they realized that one of the puppies had already died.  For around three hours they focused on rescuing the puppy that was still alive, using what is called a “puppet rope method,” a way of tying the rope so it could be used to bring up the puppies.

Eventually, they were able to get both puppies, even though one could no longer be helped.

The second pup was in desperate shape.  Dawn was able to give him CPR, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and the puppy began to revive and breathe on his own.

Meanwhile a crowd had gathered, and around 25 people were anxiously watching the progress of the rescue and were chanting prayers for the pup.

The puppy was rushed to Blue Cross, where he received excellent veterinary treatment, recovered rapidly, and is now doing really well.

Thanks to the determined rescue work of Dawn Williams and Mr. Kumaravel, a life was saved.

Dawn reports that tomorrow morning the puppy will be reunited with his mom, and steps will be taken to ensure that the mom and her puppy will be safe, loved, and well-cared for in the future.

To visit the website of Blue Cross of India, or to donate to help their work saving animals, click here.

To visit their Facebook page, click here.


Photo: Blue Cross of India

India: Chennai: Blue Cross pulls cattle from a wrecked truck

Dawn Williams feeding bulls rescued earlier this year.

On October 11, Dawn Williams, Manager in Residence, and two Blue Cross ambulances rushed to the scene of an accident involving a truck overloaded with 18 cattle.

The truck illegally transporting the 18 cattle from Andhra Pradesh got into an accident 35 kilometers (21 miles) north of Chennai in the industrial area, Maraimalainagar.

Sadly, two cattle had been killed and nine were injured. All the cattle were in severe distress due to the way in which they had been tied up.

The critically-injured driver and three other injured people had already been taken to the hospital when the Blue Cross team arrived at the scene.

They set to work assisting the cattle, removing the ropes, and lowering the animals to the ground, one by one.

Mr. Dan Phillip, a generous supporter of Blue Cross, arrived to help, and stayed with the team until late afternoon. All the surviving cattle were taken to the Blue Cross Hospital, and then the two who had died were transported to the Madras Veterinary Hospital for examination.

Bulls rescued early this year.

Blue Cross asked the police to require the vehicle owner to come down from Andhra Pradesh to appear at the Maraimalainagar Police Station, which he did the next morning. Dr. Chinny Krishna, Vice Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India, was assured by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr. Paneerselvam, that the vehicle would be impounded and the owner arrested.

A Blue Cross caregiver feeding the animals.

Earlier this year, during a series of stops on the roads conducted by the Police, Blue Cross rescued over one hundred cattle from similar illegal transport, taking the animals to the Blue Cross shelter and providing food and vet care for them.  Providing shelter to so many large animals, with no advance notice, was not an easy task, especially since most of the cattle were in bad shape, due to injuries and lack of water.

To tackle this ongoing problem, meetings were held among Mr. Ramanujam, Director General of Police, the AWBI, and The Blue Cross officials.

The Director General of Police set up a team of two senior officials – one of whom is Mr. Paneerselvam, Deputy Inspector General, to work with the AWBI and Blue Cross to bring an end to the inhumane, illegal transport of cattle.

Cattle in the thousands are being transported long distances, from Andhra Pradesh, which is north of Chennai, and other Indian states, to Kerala in the southwest of India. In Kerala cow slaughter is legal, though it is illegal in nearly all other Indian states, so the cattle are transported to Kerala, in extremely inhumane conditions.  It is not the transport itself that is illegal, but the overcrowded, cruel conditions.

The problem the police have is that when they stop the trucks carrying the cattle, they want to be sure they can provide for treatment and shelter for the animals. In northern Tamil Nadu, in the Chennai area, Blue Cross has offered to accept all cattle that are confiscated from illegal transport, even though having enough room is a problem.

What is urgently needed are for cow shelters, called goshalas, to be set up throughout all of Tamil Nadu, along the routes where the trucks bring the cattle. Setting up goshalas would allow the Police to be able to stop the trucks carrying the cattle. Until they have places available to receive the animals, it’s hard for them to enforce the law.

The Temple Worshippers Society has released a 30 minute video about this issue, entitled, “Their Last Journey.”

Mrs. Radha Rajan and Mr. Badri directed the video, which contains disturbing, graphic content, that was filmed at great risk by the staff and volunteers of Blue Cross.

The video is now posted on YouTube. To request a copy, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope (in India, Rs. 30 towards Speed Post charges) to Blue Cross of India, 1 Eldams Road, Chennai 600 018.

Thanks to Dr. Chinny Krishna for contributing information for this story.


Photos:  Sharon St Joan / Cows rescued in January and Februrary 2012 by Blue Cross of India

India: Blue Cross: Feeding rescued calves


Nandita Saha playing godmother to two rescued little calves, Krishna and Aloft, at Blue Cross of India.  Blue Cross rescues a great many cows, as well as all kinds of other animals.  Earlier this year, they rescued over 100 bulls from illegal transport.


To visit Blue Cross of India’s facebook page, click here.


To visit Blue Cross of India’s website, click here.


Photo: Blue Cross of India




India: Chennai: On-air fundraiser for Blue Cross this Friday evening

Radio host Disha Oberoi, on Live104.8FM, will be holding a fundraiser on air from 7 to 8 pm this Friday evening, July 13, 2012, for Blue Cross of India. If you’re in or near Chennai, be sure to tune in.  You can make a pledge of funds, and even specify how you’d like it spent – for food for the animals, vet care, ambulance services, or whichever way you’d like your donation to benefit the animals.

There will be lots of music and success stories about animals rescued, so it will be a fun event.  This is follows the recent highly successful adopt-a-thon, in which over 60 Blue Cross animals found their forever homes.  It’s the first hour-long on-air fundraiser for animals held by a Chennai radio station!

That’s 7-8 pm this Friday on Live 104.8 FM.

Photo: Courtesy of Blue Cross of India

India: Chennai: Adopt-a-thon

A couple delighted with their puppy.

“Thank you dear volunteers who worked day and night to make it happen – fifty puppies, ten kittens and two abandoned dogs found homes today!”

Blue Cross of India held an Adopt-a-thon the afternoon of June 17 at their main shelter in Chennai.

To read the article in The Hindu about this event by Sriya Narayanan, click here.

To visit the Facebook page of Blue Cross of India, click here.                                                                      Photo: Blue Cross of India