Chennai-based Blue Cross flag off country's first mobile ambulance for street animals' treatment

Fitted with an inverter, two fans, a fridge, and cabinets and drawers to hold medication, the vehicle is fully equipped with amenities to tend to animals in need.

Published: 28th February 2022 02:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2022 01:56 PM   |  A+A-

Blue Cross members with the country's first fully equipped mobile ambulance for on-site treatment of street animals. (Photo| Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

Blue Cross members with the country's first fully equipped mobile ambulance for on-site treatment of street animals. (Photo| Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A stark white van adorned with small green silhouettes of dogs and cats awaited in all its novelty, as Chief Justice Anita Sumanth and chairman of Blue Cross, S Chinny Krishna, flagged off the country's first fully equipped mobile ambulance for on-site treatment of street animals. Supported by animal welfare organisation, Four Paws, the vehicle was inaugurated on Sunday at Blue Cross of India, Guindy. 

With this step, the NGO curbs the existence of overly gravid shelters while taking immediate measures for street animals when needed. "This is the first ambulance service launched for street animals (in India). One of the reasons we are doing so is that Blue Cross is overcrowded and it felt like a lot of small cases could be dealt with on-site. And then the animal could be left with a caretaker, as opposed to bringing them here. And our relationship with Four Paws goes back over 20 years," shares Chinny, as the shelter pets howl their approval in the background. 

Relocation of a street animal can be dangerous as well as make them vulnerable to new environments. Anita concurs, "I don’t claim to be an expert on the behaviour of animals but I do know that once animals are brought to a facility for enforcing birth-control or treatment methodologies, one difficulty is that animals (face great threat) when they are dropped off in a different location, without reference to the fact that they are very territorial. And this causes a lot of disruption in their behavioural patterns. So I think that this (ambulance) is going to greatly alleviate that difficulty."

 Anita also inspires on the need for legislation for the rights of minorities (in this case, animals).

Whatever you need

Fitted with an inverter, two fans, a fridge, and cabinets and drawers to hold medication, the vehicle is fully equipped with amenities to tend to animals in need. We also came across a few cages, a net and a retractable blue and white tarpaulin that could be pulled out for shade.

A clean treatment table has also been added to the van. Furthermore, anti-skid shock absorbing mats, retractable doctor seats, a stretcher trolley, provisions for administering IV-fluids, oxygen cylinders, and bandages completed the items on board. 

The ambulance will set out for help with a driver, who will also be a para vet and equipped with the knowledge to capture the animal, and a veterinarian, who will inspect the dogs, treat them and drive off to the next location.

"We are going to (treat animals) with our existing web link (where people can send requests). All of these requests come to us through our software. The doctor will determine whether there is a requirement to send the animal to the hospital. Otherwise, they will be kept there and we'll request the caretakers or the people who live in the area to take care of them. If there is a requirement for a follow-up on the next day, we will do it," explains Vinod Kumar of Blue Cross. 

Small change, big leap

If need be, life-saving medication and vaccines will be available on deck for their usage. For severe cases, the canines will be transported to hospitals using the cages. In case there are multiple cases, the same can be reported to Blue Cross' regular rescue teams, of which there are four that go to various parts of the city daily.

The ambulance is a catalyst for big change in animal welfare in a city that reports close to 500 requests to Blue Cross per day. "Chennai being such a large city, it is not possible to cover all the places. And we have limited resources. So, this will be a gamechanger in that way. We'll be able to cater to the animals' needs immediately. This is great because transportation is a big stress for the animals, they do not know we are helping them. The first month will be a learning experience for us as to how to make it more effective. Once we get the feedback from the team and the people about what can be done better, we’ll definitely find a way," he elaborates. 

With this addition, it looks like the stray animals of the city are looking forward to a more hopeful future. As Chinny puts it, "A street is really no place for a dog. Every dog deserves a loving home but as long as they are there, it is our responsibility to make sure that they’re issued timely care in the best way possible."

To avail the ambulance service, go to bit.ly/bcisresq
 



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