Rescue teams scramble to help abandoned animals in Kodagu

Mysuru: As rescue operations continue in flood-and-landslide-hit Kodagu, several stories of selfless support and humanity have come to light. Among them is this story of how volunteers are rescuing pet animals and livestock from remote and inaccessible areas.

Their main objective is to rescue the animals, mainly pets and livestock that have been stranded amidst nowhere and at the middle of slush and debris. A dedicated team of volunteers are camping in the devastated areas in search of pet animals and they are leaving no stone unturned to save the animals.

Mysuru volunteers

Those in the team are Dr. Suranjana Ganguly and Dr. Shantanu, who run The Woof Wagon Pet Clinic in Mysuru. The vets, along with volunteers from Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) and volunteers who know the terrain well, are scouting for animals. Equipped with trucks and other vehicles, the volunteers are reaching remote areas of Madikeri including Makkandur, Vanachalu, Galibeedu, Madapura, Hattihole and surrounding areas where over 13 villages have been wiped out. The main challenge to rescuers comes in the form of terrain. Mud and slush are preventing their vehicles from entering certain areas and undeterred, they are moving around on foot and with the help of ropes and boats.  

Rescued livestock being shifted to the relief centre.

Speaking to Star of Mysore from Makkandur, Dr. Shantanu said that it was impossible to reach houses where the animals are stranded. “Most of the houses have collapsed and at some places we found pets waiting for their masters. We are seeking support from the Army and the District Administration to locate and rescue the pets,” he said.

Though the number of pets present in the flood-affected areas is unclear as of now, volunteers would be able to gather the details only after people in the relief camps returned to their homes. Dr. Suranjana Ganguly told SOM that the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) that was spearheading relief and rescue operations gave consent to volunteers to rescue pets only on Aug. 20. “Since then, we have been trying our best to rescue pets. We are in constant touch with other volunteers and people who know the areas well to locate and rescue dogs, cats and other animals left behind after their owners were evacuated to safer places,” she said.

Base camp at Bylakuppe

So far, 17 cows, a couple of dogs, monkeys and cats have been rescued and have been brought to the base camp set up at Bylakuppe that borders Mysuru district. “We need more vehicles like jeeps to reach remote areas as we have been getting calls from desperate people who are concerned about the fate of their pets and livestock,” she added.

A volunteer holds a traumatised pet dog and a cat.

“We are requesting people to not leash or tie their pets. At some places we found that many people had tied up the animals fearing they would be lost. During such disaster situations, it is best to leave the animals unleashed so that they have a better chance of survival.

Special Helpline

There was an urgent need to remove the bodies of dead animals as they could cause diarrhoea and leptospirosis. For any assistance to rescue pet animals, people can call a special helpline that has been set up: 97414 58583.

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