Investigation by Levin, Suhas Jayashankara Somayaji & Kelly Johnson carried out from April 2011 through July 2011. Report by Rakesh Shukla. All photo’s and footage are original.
Animal Welfare Society (AWS) is a Hyderabad based NGO and has Dr.Srinivasulu as its chairperson. AWS joined the ABC project in
October 2010 as the BBMP wanted to involve more teams to achieve the target number of surgeries. AWS methods have been highlighted and questioned at several fora including of gross neglect and unlawful and illegal behavior from time to time, including to the management of AWS. AWS management has never sought to make a change in how it conducts business – which seems like the business of killing dogs. Most people who have actually interacted with AWS have walked away with the belief that it is a death trap for stray dogs and it is best that they be de-listed and not allowed to act in Bangalore, or anywhere else as an AWO with the ABC program.
In April 2011 Levin made several visits to AWS early in the morning because he’d noticed dogs on the locality (he keeps a headcount of dogs and maintains a database see story here) were missing and new dogs were being dropped. To his horror he found that at the AWS Queens Road facility and kennels there were puppies, juvenile and already neutered dogs – that should not have been captured in the 1st place. They were housed in kennels in filthy conditions.
- Captured dogs including juveniles and pups determined to be aggressive or ‘furious’ are put down routinely: On
inquiring with the helpers they admitted that dogs are put down in the facility if they are determined to be aggressive by helpers
- Helpers pickup and put down dogs on citizen complains for extra money: helpers take money directly from citizens complaining about dogs in their locality – and put them down. This completely illegal.
- AWS ‘sells’ putting down ‘aggressive’ dog as a service: AWS not only practices killing dogs – but preaches it openly declaring this in their pamphlet distributed to citizens in its areas of operations!
In April 2011, Kelly Johnson, volunteered with AWS and witnessed AWS’s operations which included ABC on the spot in a slum and at the Queens Road facility. This observation included unloading the vans after catching, checking the tagging, handling of dogs in general, cleanliness of the veterinary hospital/ kennels/ OT etc & preparation of surgeries. Her observations on record included
- Children are able to see surgery on location – no privacy: This was the first time AWS organized ABC on the spot and there was no provision for privacy as people, including children gathered in large numbers and watched the whole procedure of spaying/
neutering of their community dogs.
- Dogs with fresh incisions are tied and immobilized: Right after the surgery, dogs with fresh incisions were put back into catching nets and the nets twisted to keep them immobile. On being confronted Dr. Srinivas of AWS clearly said that “dogs don’t need more than one hour of recovery”. This is totally untrue as dogs need at least 4-5 hours to recover.
- Untagged dogs released at random locations: Of the 3 vans that caught and brought back dogs for ABC on the day of observation one van had randomly put numbers on the entry sheet and there was no nets with the same number. So, none of the dogs could be returned to the location from which they were picked up! There were no persons to check the tagging on the incoming dogs and neither the doctors nor the catchers cared about tagging even after being reminded. On the day there were 22 dogs incorrectly or not tagged.
- Poor hygiene in kennels: The hygiene of the AWS Queens Road facility was really poor with kennels not been cleaned for many days. Dogs were transferred here after surgery with no one to clean the kennels. Since repeated requests to clean kennels were not headed the volunteer herself cleaned the kennels through the night.
- Confined dogs kept without food and water: At the end of the day of observation 15 dogs were still lying in the nets in which they
were caught (this was past 6PM when they were caught between 10AM and 1PM in the morning). The dogs had not been tagged and they would not be operated that day day, which means they would either be released on random locations, or would be left like that overnight for surgery the next day and then released randomly. The dogs had already been in the nets for more than 6 hrs, immobile and without water or food. Dogs from the previous days surgery were in dirty kennels without food and water for more than 24 hours. On questioning Dr Srinivas’ reply was ‘these dogs are different, but he will solve everything in a day’. In the end the dogs were kept there overnight without any provision of food.
- Dogs being put down because they bark or shiver: The volunteer witnessed healthy dogs being put down – where there was no reason to be put down other than they were ‘high tempered’. These included juvenile dogs as well. Their brochure that are being freely distributed clearly says that “high tempered and aggressive dogs will be put down”. This is illegal. There is no place in the facility for observation at the hospital and a dog ‘shivering’ out of fear is put down as “distemper’ etc.
- Neutering and Spaying puppies: Later on 19th April Kelly communicated again with Dr Srinivas about AWS picking up and operating on puppies weighing 2-3 kg’s each, and poorly sutured with – open suture wounds. Neither AWS nor Dr Srinivas bothered to
On 20 July at 8PM at night on a visit to the AWS Queens Road facility this was Suhas’ finding:
- Closing off the facility to prevent anything being seen: As Suhas tried to enter the main hall all the doors including the main entrance were shut. The ‘caretaker’ Mr Jagadish immediately called in a doctor named Dr. Yashwant. Dr Yashwant was very critical of Kelly Johnson’s earlier visits to AWS.
- OT lights switched off: Suhas tried to enter the operation theater but all the lights of the facility were switched off! The available light was that of the mobile phone and dirty OT tables covered with blood stains could be seen in that minimal, although it could not be determined if the blood was fresh or was congealed blood.
- Filthy kennels: With the lights off the investigator could only ‘smell’ the kennels it was so dark that it was difficult to see any distance in the light of the mobile. The staff was uncooperative the investigator and no attempt was made to provide any other light source. When asked why lights weren’t provided in the kennels Dr. Yashwant first said ‘there was a fuse going off repeatedly so they had to remove all bulbs’. Later he changed his stand to ‘if the lights are left on the dogs start fighting so they were kept off’. When asked the same question to the caretaker Jagadish, he said that AWS ‘had taken permission to remove the bulbs because
it was the rainy season and the could be a short circuit’.
- Confined/captured dogs included puppies: Most of the dogs inside the kennel were puppies and around 6-7 of them looked to around 1 or 1.5 months old and weak. The doctor said that they could not operate on a dog less than 5kg’s and none of the pups seemed to weigh more than 2 or 2.5kg’s. However Jagadish was of the opinion that any dog above 2.5kg’s could be operated as long as it was about 2-2.5 months old.
- Euthanasia practiced routinely: Jagdish admitted that he had orders to euthanize dogs. But when when asked him who gave them the orders he retraced his statement and denied dogs were ever put down.
On 22 July 2011, 10: 30 AM Levin intercepted an AWS van after it had dropped off a juvenile dog, still sedated, in the middle of the Maruthi Seva Nagar flyover, with traffic flying past it. The dog was spotted because it was immobile and appeared dead (later found to be sedated) – on closer inspection it was found that it had just been dropped in heavy traffic by AWS with a blue plastic collar, and red/orange paint on the body. On calling AWS, AWS denied that it was their drop, and said it was a CUPA drop. On checking with Dr Piran of BBMP, on phone from location, Dr Piran confirmed to Levin that with these markings it was an AWS drop. After the drops of the day, the AWS van had collected more dogs and was coming back on the same flyover (seen on video) with the ‘fresh catch for the day’. On intercepting the van Levin, learnt:
[flv:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ipZNhnF0v4 320 240]
- No tagging and data on pickup sheet: The AWS van had 10 dogs caught the same morning, they were not tagged and the data sheet had nothing mentioned from where they were picked up.
- Dog dropped on wrong/ random locations: The driver admitted to dropping the dog on the flyover and insisted it was picked up from below the flyover but dropping it on the flyover was OK since he could find the way (clearly the driver did not want to take the detour)
- No drop sheets i.e. random drops: The driver did not have any drop sheet for the day, or the pickup sheet of the previous day or any record of where was the last pickup made – he insisted he ‘remembers’ where he picks up which dogs from, and drops them back there.
- Dog would certainly die in a few weeks: It was a juvenile dog and with the nylon collar tightly stapled around its neck by AWS. Invariably the dog would develop open sores/ maggot wounds in a few weeks or choke.
It is clear that some extremely poor quality organizations have stepped in as NGOs primalrily because of the money involved. They stand to make an average of Rs 500 per spayed/neutered dog. 50 dogs a day is a revenue of Rs 25,000 per day! BBMPs ABC program is a scientific program being managed on scarce resources by Dr Piran, but it needs to be supported with resources and managed more efficiently.
These are the contact details of AWS, till the time of publishing the story they did not comment on the story.
Dr.Srinivasulu Karnati, B.V.Sc & AH
Gen.Secretary – Animal Welfare Society
#238,Kamalapuri Colony, Phase II
Hyderabad – 500073
Ph : 091-40-65539535 (L), 091 9247481111(M).