SPCA Noida is an animal hospital cum shelter, which houses 1200 plus residential animals of all kinds, small and large. It does exemplary work in the field of animal welfare – stray dog sterilizations, treatment of injured and ailing animals, adoptions of abandoned animals, ambulance services etc – all within the most stringent of constraints. As with all other organizations providing services, it comes under severe scrutiny and receives both praise and criticism. As a volunteer, somewhat aware of the level of constraints it faces, I doff my (imaginary) hat to the staff and management for the truly inspiring work they do.
For the past several months, SPCA Noida has been reeling under the pressures of lack of/delayed funding from Noida Authority, on which it depends for the most part. Volunteers do donate a lot in kind, cash, and time, but as we all know, the work of such a humongous organization cannot depend only on donations. Institutional support is a must.
Last month, after surviving mostly on donations for a couple of months, all of us assumed that SPCA Noida’s travails were sorted when the powers that be set up an interim committee, consisting of one member each from two governmental organizations and one from SPCA Noida. Cheques for some pending payments were signed and staff rejoiced at the receipt of long-due salaries.
Alas, that has all come to naught, as once again, the UP Government officials have shown their apathy. Apathy towards the residential animals who depend on the shelter for food, sustenance, and treatment. Apathy towards the animals that need to be sterilized to maintain the stray dog population, and in turn, man-animal conflict. Apathy towards the ill and animals on the road who cannot be tended too because the shelter cannot afford to run the ambulance any more. And apathy towards the people serving these animals.
The two governmental members of the Interim committee have not had the time nor the interest in signing the cheques needed to make payments to vendors of food, medicine, and essential supplies, keep the sterilization unit operational, and pay staff salaries. One of them has even taken off on an international holiday, it seems, without handing over duties!
How can this shelter survive?? Perhaps if can – for a couple of months – running purely on volunteer power. But after that? Perhaps not…
Worst of all, what will happen to the voiceless? Will they lose the only home they ever knew and be turned out into the streets? And who will be held responsible? Certainly not the shelter itself as it struggles even now, to keep itself afloat. Definitely not the volunteers, who have proven time and again, their devotion to the animals of SPCA Noida and their care.
Most definitely it is the UP Government that needs to come forward to find out why this fiasco keeps recurring and why their officials have such a lackadaisical attitude to animals who cannot speak for themselves.
With an animal lover at the helm, I do hope and pray that #cmouttarpradesh ( #MYogiAdityanath ) steps into the picture and ensures that this apathy becomes a thing of the past.