“In 1998, when we came to Santhoshapuram after my husband’s retirement, we witnessed the brutal killings of homeless stray dogs by Chennai’s corporation. They were being electrocuted or were being beaten to death because the residents didn’t want to deal with their increasing population. As both of us always had strong compassion towards animals, and had been working for them in some way or the other for about 20 years, we decided to set up a trust to start helping them,” says 70-year-old C. Padmavathy.
She and her husband Narasimmamoorthy immediately registered a trust named Animal Welfare and Protection Trust (AWPT) in Santhoshapuram, located on Velachery-Tambaram main road.
The trust was set up for many reasons, one of them being the need for finding a humane and effective way for controlling the population of street animals, rather than just killing them – and the couple decided to do it with the help of Animal Birth Control (ABC).
Today, the trust is known for being one of Chennai’s most reputed animal welfare organizations. AWPT runs a hospital with the help of three doctors in the team, who treat sick and injured animals and also perform ABC surgeries.
One of the most important activities that the trust is involved in, other than birth control, is rescuing animals in need – abandoned puppies and kittens, injured dogs, etc.
Right now, they have 85 stray dogs, 42 puppies, 11 new born kittens, and about 35 adult cats.
Until recently, all these animals had a well-ventilated shelter home. However, it had to be closed to make way during some highway construction activities for widening the streets. Presently, all small animals live in couple’s home, while other animals are being sheltered in the house of one of the doctors who has volunteered to keep them.
AWPT has been involved in numerous animal welfare activities over the years. While they started with ABC surgeries in villages falling under five panchayats in the region, the work has now grown to 25 panchayats.
The trust has conducted free vaccination camps for pets as well as homeless animals to prevent rabies, which is one of the reasons why residents complain about the presence of dogs. Other than dogs and cats, the animals they have rescued include a jackal, rabbits, monkeys, birds and squirrels.
“Blossom, a two month old pup was brought to us by a 13-year-old school student who found him on road. Blossom’s paw was completely smashed and it was only his will power and the prayer of the student who brought him that made him walk again. It took almost two months for us to cure Blossom completely and he is now in the safe hands of the one who gave him a new life by bringing to us!” says their website while narrating one of their rescue stories.
AWPT currently has a team of three doctors and eight attendants to look after the animals at all times.
With the help of the trust, people can adopt these animals and take care of them. They can also sponsor the treatment of animals and volunteer with the trust.
“Whenever we bring in the puppies, we de-worm them, give them tonic, and treat them so that when we are giving them up for adoption, the animals are safe for the people who take them,” says Padmavathy.