Q4-2022

Newsletter Q4 2022

FROM THE EDITOR'S KEN (NEL)

Sunface - The Blue Cross Mascot

Phew! what a year 2022 has been. I feel jaded just thinking about it. It started with the looming shadow of COVID which was swiftly dissipating with the dawn of a new normal slowly but surely setting in. And one great thing that came out of this slowly increasing socialisation is the increased likelihood of my street brothers getting food more regularly.

But like all coins, it’s always a toss up. This one too had the ugly side – more abandonment, cruelty, road accidents and sickness. 

Let’s recap the year as we enter the last year of our sixth decade here – a small time frame in a land that has treated with respect, all things living for 5000 years. A ‘Puyabhoomi’ as our founder Dr Chinny Krishna often refers to India as. It is only in the last millennia that we seem to have lost our way. But I am an eternal optimist – the glass is always half full even if I have to fill it myself and hope is the only thing I can fill it with. On that note, the best news in decades arrived last month – New Legislation at the Indian parliament that can drastically change the depressing scenario of crimes against animals in India is on its way. All I hope for is that it comes as soon as possible. If I can quickly break down all the legalese, when the new bill becomes law – minimum fines will go up (from Rs 10/- now to Rs 1000/- , jail terms are going up (from 3 months now to 6 months / 1 year) for smaller crimes, crimes will be graded on severity (from every crime being bucketed as animal-cruelty earlier to classification such as ‘gruesome cruelty’) and penalties for the more severe crimes would be a minimum of Rs 50000/- with jail terms of unto 3 years and for killing of animals the fines can be unto Rs 100000/- and a prison term of unto 5 years. A key clause defines “community animal” as any animal born in a community for which no ownership has been claimed by any individual or an organisation, excluding wild animals. This recognizes animals that were earlier unnoticed and makes them the responsibility of the State. Most importantly the bill will also recognise the globally accepted 5 freedoms of animals. I hope by Q2 of 2023 we will be writing about this bill having become law in India. Let’s raise a toast to that.

As the lawmakers were busy, so were we this quarter. It was a fantastic one at BCI with so many projects coming to fruition that it is going to be tough to pick the ones to feature here. 

One of the BCI governing body members, Shri Kamlesh Jain (Jain Metal Group) has sponsored the complete renovation of our cattle sanctuary at Kunnam near Chennai. Improvements were long overdue and the place got a great makeover and the cattle are settling in to a better environment. BCI Kunnam shelters over 120 cattle and 40 dogs presently. 

Several renovation and improvement projects have been sponsored Mr Mahtaney.  

A sand pit was inaugurated for helping convalescing paraplegic dogs. Continuing from last quarter when the cat surgery area saw a makeover, this time the cat treatment area on the ground floor received new tiles as did the entire dog treatment section which was in desperate need of renovation for many years. 

Throughout 2022, starting with the horse paddocks, through to the dog treatment area and scores of small improvements, Mr Mahtaney have been the most generous of donors. There are not enough words in my already limited vocabulary to describe how immensely grateful all my animal friends are. Mr Mahtaney continues to support several ongoing works as we go into 2023.

A key part of running an operation as large as the one we do is providing proper nutrition to the animals that come to the BCI for treatment or are long term residents of our sanctuary. A modern kitchen building was constructed for this a few years back by one of our long time supporters, Mr Ravindar. HCL Foundation had supplied the kitchen equipment at that time. This kitchen has been providing fresh wet-feed, but there had always been a need to have an economic dry food option in addition to this. Our dependence on expensive veg dry food pellets from the big brands like Pedigree and Drools for dogs and Benovo (vegan) for cats had been high. 

One of our long term supporters Ms. Diana Ratnagar (Beauty Without Cruelty) had given a personal donation for setting up of a completely vegan dry food line. The line covers all operations right from the hammer mill to powder the grains all the way to a large convective oven to bake the pellets and a mixing drum to spray flavours. After many COVID and non COVID hiccups and additional support from Mrs & Mr Ravindar for the upgradation of one of the critical (extruder) machine in this line, the pellet production finally went live this quarter. On a regular basis dog food is being produced for internal consumption, and currently vegan cat food trials are ongoing. 

Our Salem team continues on its ABC mission and in Q4 Dawn Williams completed a ‘humane catching’ training at Salem that covered all the Salem corporation staff involved in ABC catching. The Salem team under the umbrella of RAIN (Rescue Animals In Need and no connection with precipitation) completed a record 957 ABC’s this quarter.

The Blue Cross CACC (Citizen Animal Caregiver) Program which was initiated last quarter saw the first batch of inductees with 19 CACC’s joining the program in a kick-off in late Oct. In this newsletter read about what this program is and how BCI engages with the community to make things better for the voiceless.

The 2nd MoHo (Mobile Hospital) sponsored by DahNay Logistics was flagged off this quarter by Mr.T.Murali Babu, Founder Director of DahNay Logistics and Mrs.Sujatha Murali Babu, Director. All my voiceless friends of Chennai join hands in thanking DahNay and the kindhearted Babu family for their benevolence. The 2nd MoHo will make it possible for us to expand our healthcare-on-the-streets program in Chennai.

The connection between animals and our environment is well known and well researched. Garbage dumps, plastic bags – they all cost us lives – animal life and eventually human. The ingestion of plastics by cattle for instance. At BCI we have performed surgeries where 30-40 Kgs of plastics have been extracted from their gut. The idea to re-cycle scrap material that would likely get dumped was seeded by a long time BCI volunteer who is now preparing for her administrative service exam – Pooja Sitharthan. Thus was born the Blue Cross Green Club (BCGC). The first project : converting old audio cassette tapes into art for fundraising saw quick success in raising Rs.15000 in just a couple of weeks. Read all about it and other BCGC initiatives at BCI here.

Heads Up For Tails donated 500 reflective collars. These are reflective safety collars for street dogs to reduce accidental vehicular injury in the nights. Dogs that are being released in high traffic/vulnerable areas are being discharged after affixing these collars. So far 35 dogs have been released with the reflective collars. Thank you HUFT for your kind donation.

On Dec 19th HCL Foundation Vice President-Global CSR, Smt. Nidhi Pundhir visited BCI and inaugurated the BCI Animal Diagnostics Lab and the Vaccination Programs that have been made possible by the donation from HCL Foundation.

And to sign off on an oddly interesting note, check out Brownie’s impossible story of reunion after spending almost 2 years at the Blue Cross. It was nothing short of a miracle that this came to pass.

Enjoy!… and don’t forget to sign up and white-list us to receive this newsletter in your inbox every quarter.

THE YEAR 2022 IN NUMBERS

Arguably the largest positive impact any single AWO has on the health and well-being of street animals in any city in the world. 

The ABC figures include 1614 sterilisation surgeries done for the Salem Municipal Corporation.

THE LAST 90 DAYS ON THE CHENNAI STREETS

Making a difference – One street animal at a time

The rescues, birth control surgeries and re-homing by the Blue Cross Of India during the second quarter (Jul-Aug-Sep 2022)

The ABC figures have substantially increased this quarter to 2622 (from 1465 in Q3) with the addition of surgeries done at Salem (957). We also had a fantastic adoption rate this quarter increasing to 513 animals (from 407 in Q3).

Much of what we do and the key programs that we run are thanks mainly to the kind and generous contributions from our close partners and sponsors:

ABC Program

Animal Rescues

 Animal Health & Nutrition
 

Street animals in distress – Greater Chennai Area. 

This interactive bubble-o-map shows the number of rescue-requests received/accepted and rescued by the Blue Cross of India from the areas that are in the Greater Chennai Corporation limits (and a few outside) in the 4th quarter of 2022.

Oct, Nov, Dec 2022

Rescue Requests Received : 6966 (up from 6319 in Q3)

Rescue Requests Accepted : 5954 (up from 5631 in Q3) (86 % of received requests)

Actual Rescues : 2822 (down from 2927 in Q3) (47 % of accepted requests / 40 % of received requests)

This quarter once again we saw the increasing trend of the number of requests made on the Blue Cross continue. Blue Cross faces many challenges and limitations. Lack of funding makes it difficult to increase capacities to meet the ever increasing demand. Considerable increases seen in cost of veterinary personnel owing to the imbalance in demand vs supply of qualified vets is a key challenge.

Just look at the ever expanding gap between the need and available capacity of BCI. It is not that we don’t want to – it’s the simple reality that we just can’t. It is anyone’s guess how many of the animals in the red zone get help from other NGOs in Chennai.

Animal welfare is not about prolonging life but about reducing suffering – both the obvious physical and not so obvious mental suffering. This is the axiom on which we work and that’s precisely why we are taking a fresh view to capacity expansion – Mobile Hospitals (MoHos) and Paravets on Wheels (PoWs) and taking medical interventions to their homes – the streets of Chennai. We already have one MoHo running and two ready to go, but the killer is the running costs which runs to over Rs. 2 lacs every month and the inflation and skyrocketing costs of meds and personnel doesn’t help. If you would like to support the running cost of our Mobile Hospitals please donate here.

If you believe in what we have been doing for the last six decades and would like to help us help more voiceless animals, there are many ways you can. Please head to ‘Ways To Help’ page on our website and help us any way you can.

DONATE HERE – If you would like to help us help more of them

BACK FROM THE BRINK

Great Comeback Stories

We can resist a heartwarming makeover story – especially when it involves a sweet kitten and a resilient dog. Though the sight of these poor animals in their earlier state might wring our hearts, those happy endings always motivate us to do our best irrespective of the severity. Here are the transformation stories that sure would tug your heartstrings and spread warmth.

We have many such fantastic comebacks stories. I have selected only a couple here but there are scores more you can find on our Instagram page – if you don’t yet follow us there – please do so right away at BCI Instagram and get to know them as they happen nearly everyday.

DRAMA IN REAL LIFE

Great Rescues

Behind the heartwarming rescue stories you hear from us almost every day, there is our team of well-trained and equipped expert rescuers, who swing into action whenever there is a distress call for voiceless and vulnerable four-legged friends.

Our tactical rescue team, headed by Dawn William, includes many volunteers who also became independent rescuers. From saving animals from precarious heights, ledges, and edges to dangerous sewages and wells, this incredible team has pulled off some rescues that are nothing short of adventurous.

We have many such fantastic rescues. Head to our Instagram page – if you don’t yet follow us there – please do so right away at BCI Instagram and get to know them as they happen everyday.

BCI HOSPITAL-ON-WHEELS
BCI FOUR PAWS MoHo (Mobile Hospital) – India’s First And Only On-Location Treatment of Street Animals 
 
This quarter marked the 3rd full quarter for MoHo (FP – Four Paws) – she made 483 treatment visits and treated 179 new cases. MoHo continues to help with
 – faster first-aid
 – convalescence in a familiar environment
 – zero hospital and cross-city infections
 
Also since its inception on 2nd March 2022, MoHo (FP) has hit some great numbers which I share below:
 
Total No of Animals Rescued by BCI since MoHo began : 9358
Treatment Initiated Onsite (by MoHo) : 846 (amounting to 9.04% of total rescues)
Treatment Fully Managed Onsite (by MoHo) : 657 (amounting to 7.02% of total rescues)
No of Treatment Visits (Onsite) : 1560
No of Treatment Cases Closed Onsite (by MoHo) : 559
  
 

This quarter MoHo notched up nearly 2720 km (down from 4500 km last quarter) in about 320 hours. 

MoHos treatments during the quarter can be seen by hovering your mouse pointer over the bubbles to see the locality wise treatment visit stats. The red circle is the BCI Hospital location.

Oct, Nov, Dec 2022

Treated by BCI (Hospital + Onsite) : 2624

Treated Onsite : 179 (9.82% of total rescues)

No of Treatment Visits (Onsite) : 483

This quarter we had a heavy turnover of vets resulting in the reduced running days of the Four Paws MoHo as the shelter veterinarian shortage had to be compensated by re-assignments. At present BCI has a severe shortage of veterinary staff – both veterinarians and para-veterinarians. We need experienced and street-smart Vets and Paravets to join our team. If you know any good ones, please do send Vinod (vinod@bluecrossofindia.org) a quick shout.

Meanwhile two MoHos (one of DahNay and the other from Ranka Steels) have been delivered after their conversion into mobile hospitals. We await filling up the veterinary shortage in order to start operating them.

Blue Cross MoHos – the future of street animal healthcare are here to stay. 

MoHo (FP) has been on the road since March 2nd and going from strength to strength. Watch this space for exciting news on the silent revolutions happening in street animal healthcare.

DONATE HERE -Fund the running costs of our MoHo-2.

OUR ARCHANGELS

Animal Care-Givers Of The Month

Every month I am in the committee that picks the best from all the people who care for us everyday. 

I picked –  Vel Murugan, Kasturi and Revathi as the animal-care-givers for the three months this quarter. Their dedication to their work and kindness to us, especially the little ones that need immense care is indeed a service no amount of money can buy.

On behalf of every animal under their care, every animal that they helped recover and also the animals that have crossed the rainbow bridge despite their best efforts, we thank them. We are proud of them and they deserve heartfelt appreciation and recognition for their inspiring work.

VISITING ANGELS

Volunteers Of The Month

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention – Oscar Wilde.

Every weekend at BCI, a bountiful of gentlest faces with curious eyes make this quote a lovely living moment. And we fall short of words to explain how much our furry friends look forward to their arrival and the exciting vibes they bring!

For most, volunteering is more about giving, but for our favourite volunteers, it’s a way of living. And we dedicate this space to the most dedicated volunteers of this quarter, appreciating their soulful work.

The new faces and smells the weekend brings to the Blue Cross cannot be expressed with words. Boy how I long for weekends to arrive. 

It’s volunteer of the month time and our volunteers of the month for Oct, Nov and Dec are Dhanasekar, Anny and Sharath. 

And if you too would like to come hang with at the shelter and help us out with all the ‘human’ things needed to get done please sign up here. We have a whole lot of onsite (Chennai) and remote volunteering opportunities and would be thrilled to have you in our next induction – let’s get in some new smells, people.

THIS, THAT AND OTHER ANIMAL MATTERS

A MIRACULOUS REUNION

In January 2020 an Indie came to our sanctuary with a broken left foreleg and a serious skin infection. He had been found by a gentleman inside an ATM, hiding, scared for his life. The collar on his neck meant he was someone’s pet. Was he abandoned as so many are? Most likely – or so we thought as we so often have seen with skin infected or sick pets. We made social media posts and circulated his picture on whatsapp but got no response. Blue Cross is known to shelter lost and abandoned pets. With nearly six decades of presence in Madras and a household name in south India, Blue Cross would normally be the first place a pet parent who has a missing pet in Madras would call. We received no such call. 

His leg had literally broken into two and much time had passed since the break and it had set. Surgery had to be done to reset the bone and it also meant he would lose his toes. It took over two months of post surgery care to get him back on the road.

We named him Brownie – he had the air of a mafia don about him when it came to other dogs, but he was very friendly with people. Over the next months he endeared himself to everyone in the sanctuary and it was decided to keep him off the adoptable dogs list. So he stayed, slowly but surely taking over the job of keeping the others dogs on the straight and narrow. He even tried his tricks with me, but I kept my distance and soon he got bored and stopped bothering me. I must admit though, his style was compelling – he would hold court everyday below the reception desks sitting with his short leg folded, true to form.

One evening in early December  when I was hanging out by the security gates a gentleman walked into our sanctuary with a sick puppy. There was a rush of wind as I saw Brownie run past me like a cheetah. I looked on open jawed (yeah – I know what you are thinking  – aren’t my jaws always open). He jumped up on this man and smothered him, whimpering and barking continuously. He made laps around and his joy knew no bounds. 

Gopalakrishnan had been walking Tommy (that was Brownie’s pet name before all this happened) one evening when he had met with an accident in T-Nagar. Scared and free of his leash, Tommy had run away. His family searched everywhere for weeks and had finally given up heartbroken, thinking he had come under a vehicle or been mauled by the territorial street dogs and that they would never find him.

Like they say a good deed begets good, Gopalakrishnan happened upon Tommy when he had come to Blue Cross to save a sick puppy. 

After vetting with his old photographs in their possession, the next day Brownie (Tommy) was reunited with his whole family which had come to get him. While we were all sad to let him go, I was happy he had found his folks. I must say though some of the other dogs were thrilled they would no longer be ordered around to fetch biscuits and such by Don Corleone.

BCI VOLUNTEERS START BLUE CROSS GREEN CLUB. 

Upcycling: The Blue Cross Green Club is a volunteer driven initiative. There are two teams in this club with separate goals that touch upon our environment. 

The upcycle team initiated by Pooja Sitharthan – a long time volunteer and her sister Pranitha have pulled together a team of gifted volunteers with immense talent. Their goal is to gather scrap material from donors and convert them into art that can be used for fundraising. 

A nook in the volunteer hangout serves as their workplace and their first fundraiser, ‘The Cassette Project’ where discarded cassette tapes have been converted to attractive art with messages and quotes has seen good success, raising Rs.15000 in just a few weeks. 

Oxygen: The second team that is lead by Velu has a team of 5 volunteers who have plunged themselves neck deep in soil and are planting saplings all over BCI. This gang of 5 – Vishal, Shruthi, Dinesh, Mayuran and Sharath have also been designated small plots of land inside BCI to develop into green patches. 

It will be some time before the fruits of their labour can be enjoyed but a time worth waiting.

Solar: Yet another team is responsible for ensuring that the solar power is delivering optimal energy for the season. Their responsibility is to monitor the average output from the panels and to ensure that the panels themselves are at all times optimally maintained by ensuring the proper cleaning of the absorbing surface.

BLUE CROSS OF INDIA’s COMMUNITY ANIMAL CAREGIVER PROGRAM INDUCTS BATCH-I CACs

The BCI CACC Program that was kicked off in Q3 gained traction this quarter. The program is designed to support the citizens who wish to help street animals in their communities. In the first batch 19 Community Animal Caregivers were approved and inducted into the program. Dr Chinny Krishna gave away the kits in the kick-off conducted on Oct 28th 2022 and BCI Volunteer and Associate Life Member, Rob Thangadurai who has been spearheading this program, organised the event and all the due diligence. The cards have been issued after a stringent vetting process to ensure their genuineness.   

Batch 1 CAC Stats

  • No of BCI-CACs : 19
  • No of animals supported : 824
  • % of Applicants approved : 50%

A BCI-CAC’s responsibilities are to:

  • Ensure that the street animals under their care live distress and disease free and their five freedoms are given primacy.
  • Ensure that they build support in their communities for awareness and animal welfare initiatives.
  • Support the Chennai Corporation driven ABC-AR program by helping in catching the animals under their care (and enable stress free catching) and over a period of time 100% of the community dogs under their care are spayed/neutered. 
  • Ensure that man-animal conflict is reduced by feeding only in designated areas so as to cause minimum inconvenience to public.

Blue Cross of India is committed to support the BCI-CAC’s in this endeavour in all possible manner by 

  • Helping reduce animal distress (by timely medical intervention-onsite or at BCI Hospital).
  • Helping reduce man-animal conflict and animal abuse (by liaising where necessary with law enforcement).
  • Supporting the ABC-AR initiatives taken by the CAC and help manage and sustainably reduce the street animal population in a humane way

There has been an overwhelming response to the program and we have received 110 applications so far. In Q1 of 2023 the 2nd batch is planned to be inducted once the diligence activities are completed.

If you are already a caregiver to street animals in your area and wish to be part of this BCI community outreach initiative, please apply at this link.

THE ANIMAL CALENDAR

Celebrating life – Preserving the endangered – Bringing Awareness

Get yourself an appointment on our busy calendars to know and learn more about us.

Click here to download the High Res Self Printable Blue Cross Of India – Animal Calendar and get to know more about the 67 different animal days celebrated around the world using QR codes..

Oct 2022
Nov 2022
Dec 2022
04th Oct 

World ANIMAL Day

01st Nov 

World VEGAN day

04th Dec 
Intt. CHEETAH Day
09th Oct 

World MIGRATORY BIRD Day

29th Nov 
Intt. JAGUAR Day
04th Dec 
Wildlife Conservation Day
17th Oct 

Intt. SAWFISH Day

 
 
14th Dec 
MONKEY Day

18th Oct 
 
World OKAPI Day
 
 
Intt. SLOTH Day
 
 
 

 

22nd Oct 
Intt. WOMBAT Day
 

 

 
 
 

23rd Oct 
Intt. SNOW LEOPARD Day
 
 
 
 
 

24th Oct 
Intt. GIBBON Day
 
 
 
 
 

28th Oct 
World LEMUR Day
 
 
 
 
DONATION APPEALS

The Blue Cross Of India has been serving the voiceless for the last over 58 years mainly through donations from generous individuals like you. BCI is the first animal welfare organisation in India to be awarded the Guidestar Platinum Rating for transparency in 2013-14 and every year since – a stamp of assurance. 

Your donations are used in the most transparent and frugal manner for animal welfare, with minimal administrative expenses. The guidestar rating helps potential donors make a well informed decision based on an objective assessment of how donations are put to work by BCI. Learn More…

We thank you for your kindness and generous contributions that help the BCI take good care of us year after year. 

(Donations are eligible for 80G tax exemption – Make sure you mention your PAN No). Pl donate generously here.
Make Memories with Blue Cross Of India


Is it your Birthday
A Memory of someone close – a pet, a person
Perhaps your Anniversarry needs a celebration
Or you want to Honour your departed
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Or would like to Dedicate to someone you love 

Whatever it be, make it a memory that 2000 animals will be grateful for and bless you with their stomachs full.

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