By Ridham Gambhir
Little paws and lush black fur, beady eyes and a wagging tail, Jimmy, a three-month old dog had stretched itself on the floor while an attendant from Friendicoes cleaned the wound on its leg.
About 40 such dogs each day are brought or abandoned in the premises of Friendicoes Society for Eradication of Cruelty to Animals (SECA), a non-governmental organization running in Delhi for the past 36 years. What started as a room with no electricity and scant lighting has now expanded into 2 ABC (Alternative Birth Care) Units, 1 Life Time Care Sanctuary and 2 hospitals.
Friendicoes is home to hundreds of street dogs and abandoned pets. It has a lifetime sanctuary that accommodates horses, donkeys and cows too.
However, this shelter is now running into a financial crisis. Its monetary funds are unable to meet the feeding and medical bills of these homeless animals. The organization is currently under a debt of Rs. 82 lakh while the Municipal Corporation of Delhi owes it Rs 30 lakh for conducting spay/neuter programs, said a post on its official Facebook page.
Geeta Seshamani , Vice-President of Friendicoes told NewsGram, “Our organization has earned its reputation because of the commitment we invest in these little animals. We cater not only to street dogs but also to the needs of low-income groups who rear pets.”
“Many a times owners come to our shelter to get their pets vaccinated or treated and to our utter surprise, they leave their pets by tethering them to a table or chair so that they don’t run after them. And when we do a medical check-up of these animals, most of them are either suffering from some congenital disease or chronic illness. We treat such pets and keep them for life-time. With rising cases like these and other animals to take care of, our organization is running into a monetary crisis” she said.
On being asked about aid from the government, Seshamani said that their ‘Sterilization of Street Dogs Program’ is provided with some subsidies by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. However, she said that as an organization working for a non profit motive, Friendicoes is not even being helped by the government with the rent requirements of its operating space in Jangpura.
Till now, Friendicoes’ cry for help has been heard by college students who are coming in with kilos of newspapers and packets of rice. Some have donated Dettol bottles, Phenyl and Betadine, along with blankets and bed-sheets, said Anjana Passai, receptionist at Friendicoes.
It is easy to throw your stale food at the street dogs but it takes love and care to bring out such dogs from their skin diseases, infections and the task becomes all the more strenuous if the animal is pregnant. The organization does all this and a lot more.
Friendicoes treats more than 100 animals and keeps them till they are fit again. The organization which has been a support to all these animals is now in clutches itself. Also, due to financial crunch, the organization has had to discontinue its emergency van service.
Friendicoes, which has helped the four legged friends of humans for the past 36 years is staring at an imminent closure. It is up to the people of the city to save the rare savior of animals.