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Noida Authority Closes SPCA, Then Starves New Shelter of Funds

The SPCA, which houses around 1,000 sick and abandoned animals at a time, was dissolved in January.

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The lives of around 1,000 small and large animals have been caught up in a web of politics in Noida Sector 94's Animal Hospital, formerly known as the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The SPCA, which houses around 1,000 sick and abandoned animals at a time, was dissolved in January after a political tussle between the volunteers and the Noida Authority. Now, the Noida Authority (NA) runs the hospital, and its signboard simply reads “Noida Animal Hospital and Shelter” with the ‘SPCA’ whitened out.



The SPCA, which houses around 1,000 sick and abandoned animals at a time, was dissolved in January.
Noida Animal Shelter with ‘SPCA’ whitened out.
(Photo: Shorbori Purkayastha/The Quint)

Since then, the survival of both the animals and their caretakers had been in peril with a constant shortage of food and medicines for animals and frozen salaries of its 54 ancillary staffers.

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According to SPCA volunteers, it cost roughly Rs 18 lakhs per month to manage the shelter, out of which Rs 5 lakhs was funded by the NA, which was later raised to Rs 10 lakhs. But now with the NA having taken full control of the shelter, the exact amount of funds allotted remains a mystery.

The roles of the volunteers too have been reduced to non-managerial posts. These days, with an unsteady supply of funds, the important job is that of fundraising so that the animals don’t die for want of food and medicine.

When asked about the dearth of food supply from the governmental department in-charge of the hospital, Senior PE of Health from Noida Authority, RS Yadav jumps to his own defence. "There's an abundance of food, all the animals are fine, it is for everybody to see", he asserts.



The SPCA, which houses around 1,000 sick and abandoned animals at a time, was dissolved in January.
Medicine stocks running dry at the Noida Animal Shelter and NGO.
(Photo: Shorbori Purkayastha/The Quint)

But minutes into my visit to the SPCA, I see volunteers streaming in with assurances of food and medicine, discussing ways to raise funds for the hospital that is falling apart. Some have taken to social media to seek help for the withering shelter.

Logic would dictate that in a government-run hospital, the government should be responsible keeping tabs on what medicines are required for the animals and providing them, but that volunteers have had to take it upon themselves to collect money and purchase medicines, proves that the animals are anything but ‘fine’.



The SPCA, which houses around 1,000 sick and abandoned animals at a time, was dissolved in January.
Fodder worth only three day for 300 cows, donkeys, horses at Noida Animal Shelter and Hospital.
(Photo: Shorbori Purkayastha/The Quint)

The Animal Birth Control (ABC) programmes have also been halted over the same issue of non-payment of dues. The food reserve for around 300 large animals such as donkeys, cows and horses only has fodder for three days.

"The NA officials tell me ‘these animals aren't productive, don't give them green fodder’... I don't know how to respond to that," Vidhi, the person in-charge of the hospital says.



The SPCA, which houses around 1,000 sick and abandoned animals at a time, was dissolved in January.
Dog food donated by volunteers at Noida Animal Shelter and Hospital.
(Photo: Shorbori Purkayastha/The Quint)

Only a few sacks of dog food are seen piled up for the 700 dogs the shelter has.

“All that dog food is from donation,” Vineet Arora a staff member explains. “It’s not like the Noida Authority doesn’t send food at all. But they never send the quantity that is actually required. And there isn’t a constant flow of food. They send it for a handful of days and we have to send a request for the next batch, which will take days to be approved and then a few more days to come to the shelter.”
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The problem doesn’t end there – after the election of Yogi Adityanath’s government the three-member interim committee formed to monitor the optimum utilisation of funds, (comprising a member of Noida Authority, a veterinary officer and an SPCA member) was dissolved in July.

Since then the salaries of the staff members has been frozen for the last two months until 27 September. RS Yadav treats it as a trifling matter and says, “That is a governmental process”. On being questioned further, he doesn’t explain what exactly is meant by “process” and instead agitatedly says, “Everything you have seen at the shelter is make-believe.”



The SPCA, which houses around 1,000 sick and abandoned animals at a time, was dissolved in January.
Dogs as the Noida Animal Shelter and NGO.
(Photo: Shorbori Purkayastha/The Quint)

But the SPCA is not alone in its misery. Earlier, Delhi-based animal welfare NGO, Friendicoes was also on the verge of shutting down in 2015 over a shortage of funds. The majority of the debt was owed by the East Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which hadn't paid Rs 19 lakhs for vaccination and sterilisation of stray dogs since 2014. The NGO was rescued only by volunteers and donations.

In Chennai, the government-funded Corporation Pounds, which until 1996 used to electrocute stray dogs, has now taken up the ABC programme. Animal welfare activist, Shravan Krishnan vouches for the shoddy operations he has witnessed, if there’s any doubt of the horror that the government shelters have come to stand for. Often the operations are done without performing anesthesia, sometimes even assistants perform crudely done surgeries.

“There’s a severe shortage of funds because Tamil Nadu hasn’t held local body election... so there’s no point depending on these government-run shelters and animal hospitals,” Krishnan says.

For Anuradha Dogra, a volunteer for SPCA, the fight is against the mistreatment of animals than anything else. She says:

There’s no school to teach you animal welfare, it has to come from within. The fight is not about the salaries of the workers that was frozen till yesterday, the fight is that the Noida Authority has neglected and not provided for the animals which are at their mercy.

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