NELLORE: Stepping into the shoes of his father, who was an ardent animal lover, 45-year-old Maddala Vijay Kumar of Nellore city has made it a habit to feed animals, come what may. Even during the recent floods, Vijay did all he could to satiate the hunger of the strays.
A cable operator, Vijay spends at least Rs 500 a day to feed the animals. His wife Rajyalakshmi, a homemaker, and 17-year-old daughter support him in his endeavour to keep the animals fed. Rajyalakshmi cooks 5-7 kgs of rice and curries daily to feed the animals.
Vijay, who hails from Dargamitta in Nellore city, starts his day by serving milk, biscuits and bread to the stray animals in the city. As soon as the clock strikes 8 in the morning, the strays know where to find Vijay.
The family serves chicken to the strays twice a week. Biscuits and water are also on the menu.
“We feed more than 20-30 stray animals including dogs, cows, birds, monkeys in Dargamitta, Vedayapalem, Ayyappa Temple Centre, Nippo Centre and also in some other areas of Chandrababu Nagar. We also collect leftovers from functions held by my relatives and friends and feed the animals. The way they gobble down food, I realise how hungry they must have been. The fact that I have satiated their hunger gives me satisfaction. I believe animal birth control programme for stray dogs is a social responsibility."
"Feeding the animals has been a good experience. They never forget the service offered to them. I feel it is my duty to spend at least 1-2 hours in the morning and evening for serving the animals,’’ Vijay said.
Vijay’s father, Ananda Rao had been feeding the animals when he used to work as ADC at the RTC Depot in Nellore.
During leisure time, Rao would take Vijay along with him to feed the strays. The family has been providing food to the animals for over 45 years now and Vijay has carried forward the tradition.
The Covid-induced lockdown and the recent floods did not deter him from feeding the animals.
Vijay’s friends and family members also support him by donating rice and other ingredients. Vijay also provides medical assistance to animals with the support of a veterinary doctor.
“Few years ago, a cow got stuck in the middle of a track close to Nellore city. I alerted the railway police, revenue and veterinary staff who rescued the cow. It was a memorable incident in my life.”