Uma Shetty of Mumbai, who lives in a small hut and works as a domestic help, has been caring for and sheltering stray animals for the last six years.
Recently, Uma rescued seven puppies, packed in a sack and thrown in a trashcan near JJ Hospital.
According to her, the pups were barely 2-3 weeks old. Uma managed to trace their mother, who had injury marks on her, at Haji Residency at Umerkhadi. Next, she called a private ambulance, for which she paid herself, and moved the dogs to HELP Animals & Birds Hospital in Masjid Bunder. The animals are doing well and have been put up for adoption now.
Uma lives in a 120 sq ft hut with five other members of her family. But the cramped quarters have never prevented this 22-year-old girl from making room for injured and needy strays. Earning just Rs. 6000 a month by working in four households, Uma uses her meagre resources to shelter 10 dogs and one cat in her home and feed 25 strays every day after work.
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“At a very early age, I realised the plight of homeless and speechless. Living in a hut, I know the importance of having a rood over your head,” she said to Daily News and Analysis. “I witnessed number of animal cruelty incidents that used to leave me disturbed. Hence, I took up the job of rescuing and helping the strays,” she added.
There are many animal haters out there, according to Uma. She is often threatened by them in her quest to take care of strays.
“Talking about my area, there is a group of six guys, who beat the dogs with wooden sticks. They travel on motorbikes, hence getting hold of them gets difficult. I am unable to understand the motive behind their inhuman act. A criminal case can be registered with the police under section 503 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and an immediate arrest can be made without any warrant under this act,” she said.