The stray dog menace in and around Kochi has been on the news for sometime now. However, there has not been any respite to the situation. But now someone from across the seas has come to rescue the stray animals.
‘Mad Dogs Trust’ is an animal shelter based in Fort Kochi. It was founded by a British woman, Penny Koch, in 2006. She and her team look after neglected and abused dogs, cats, cows, buffaloes and goats by vaccinating, neutering and returning them to the places where they came from. The building can be easily recognised as one can see cats and dogs wandering freely inside the house. Interestingly, there are couches, beds and cardboard boxes for the dogs and cats to sleep in. Whooster, a Dalmatian, has been with the trust for the past few years and there are many other breeds. The animals are friendly and play with each other all the time.
“There are more than 30 animals and some may come in without our notice and most of them are so friendly, that they don’t leave us even after regaining their health,” says Mary, the housekeeping lady. “People report cases to the trust when an animal meets with an accident or is not taken care of properly.” Caretaker Sunil Lal says that there are frequent instances where animals have been thrown into their premises by people at night.
So far, the trust has provided vaccination for more than 5,000 animals. They also aim at providing special training and awareness to children about rabies and other animal-related diseases.
However, the trust is facing a financial crisis. “I might even close it down,” says Penny. “It is not easy to take care of so many animals.”
As for the funding, Penny says, “It comes from my pocket. However, it is difficult to carry on unless I get a substantial help from the Cochin Corporation or the State Government.” But Penny is thankful that there is good support from the local people. “They even aid us by providing food to the team,” she says.
Others who help are volunteers. The trust has a programme and welcomes anyone who loves animals and wishes to make a difference. The trust is also asking for donations and contributions from people.