Compassion for animals is the noblest of all virtues…and serving these mute creatures is the biggest charity…this might be just a thought for us but for C Padmavathi and C Narasimhamoorthy, who run Animal Welfare and Protection Trust (AWPT) at Santhoshapuram in Tambaram, it is an every day reality.
…and it started
In 1999 the Chennai Municipality began killing stray dogs by immersing them in acid baths. On witnessing one such brutal killing, C Padmavathi and her husband C Narsimhamoorthy opened their home and hearts to these dogs. Thus, ‘The Animal Welfare and Protection Trust’ (AWPT) was born. Together with other NGOs, they asked the municipality to stop killing strays on the promise that they would sterilize them to reduce numbers. The municipality agreed… and this elderly couple willingly poured their life’s savings for the cause and dedicated their concluding years of life to their compassion.
Today they house over 200 dogs and 30 cats, most of whom are permanent members as they are too ill to be relocated. These include dogs with tumors, handicapped dogs and even a few new born pups.
Battling out all odds
Over the years, the couple had helped many abandoned dogs find homes, looked after injured ones and sterilized a number of females. With their minimal earnings and savings, the couple is running the organization. But, today, they are facing real tough times.
Expressing her concern over animals Padamavathi says, “Our aim is to prevent cruelties perpetrated on animals particularly strays and creating public awareness that animals also have a right to live in this world and deserve to be treated in a humane manner. We are engaged in animal welfare activities for the past 30 years. We have inherited this legacy from our grandfather who in the 1940s used to purchase caged birds in bulk and let them out free in a forest area. He fed and fend a lot of stray animals in his house.”
The AWPT’s monthly expenses are around Rs 60,000 which includes the cost of food, medicines, surgeries conducted etc. The trust has three doctors and three paramedical staff, there is always a vet on duty, through the night for emergency cases. They also have two ambulances for the purpose. At present the NGO operates from the couple’s own house and a rented building which serves as a pet clinic and houses dogs and puppies but is facing problems due to lack of funds and space. Their rescued animals include cats, dogs, birds, monkeys, rabbits, and even snakes and wild jackal rescued from nomadic gypsies.
They had to shift clinic thrice as people did not take kindly to the presence of so many dogs in their area. They have appealed to the Government many times as to their immediate need for more space but the response has been apathetic. The Government had promised them a one-acre piece of land in 2002, on the recommendation of Menaka Gandhi but the land is still awaiting sanction at the Kancheepuram Collectorate.
Over 70 years old, the elderly couple is still full of life and aspirations and have a strong will to serve these animals till the end. Padmavathi is highly worried about the future of her animals, the stress she faces everyday of not knowing what will happen to these animals once she’s gone. They need money to buy land to build a permanent shelter and clinic for these dogs. Or else the dogs will become homeless again, back to a life on the street or a brutal death. The truth is that most of them are not in a state to survive on their own. So either way, they won’t make it.
“We appeal to animal lovers and philanthropists to help us with liberal donations to help a noble cause. Our motto is “Compassion for animals is the noblest of all virtues”. If each house or family can feed a stray animal every day there will not be any famished animal on the roads. All donations to the trust are exempt from Income Tax under section 80G,” concludes Padmavathi.
For help contact : The Animal Welfare and Protection Trust: No 3/140, Kalaignar Karunanidhi Street, Santhoshapuram, Velachery – Tambaram Main Road, or call: 22781381/ 98416 38489/ 98412 48870 or email : firstname.lastname@example.org.
-by Natasha Amrolia