Meet Rajani Shetty, Mangalurur's saviour of strays

42-year-old Rajani Shetty of Mangaluru has been rescuing sick and injured stray animals and birds for the last 22 years and giving them the care they need  

Published: 16th January 2022 06:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2022 09:49 AM   |  A+A-

Rajani Shetty and her daughter Shwetha feeding stray dogs in Mangaluru | EXPRESS

Express News Service

MANGALURU: Some heroes don’t wear capes and some believe that ‘the left hand should not know what the right is doing’. One such noble soul is 42-year-old Rajani Shetty, who has been on a mission to rescue stray animals and unfortunate birds from hunger and danger, for the last 22 years.

For Rajani, a resident of Ballalbagh in Mangaluru, it all started in Mumbai, her hometown, where she noticed a puppy lying in a sewage drain crying for help. “I was disturbed seeing the little animal shivering and drenched in dirt. I immediately rescued the puppy and for the next 14 years, he remained a part of my family,” says Rajani, who works as a domestic help and babysitter.

The kind-hearted soul has so far rescued over 2,000 birds and animals. Married to Damodar Shetty, the couple has two daughters Shwetha and Rithika and son Prathik.

Each day, she cooks 60 kg of rice mixed with chicken waste to feed over 750 dogs and cats on the streets of Mangaluru. When chicken waste isn’t available, she cooks rice mixed with milk and egg. Starting her day at 5.30 am, she and one of her daughters hop on a two-wheeler and go around the city feeding the animals. They repeat it between 9.30 am and 1 pm.

The family of five lives in a tiled house paying a rent of Rs 9,000 per month. “I earn Rs 12,000 a month and keep a part of it to look after the animals and birds. My home houses 29 dogs, of which five are paralysed, 15 cats, a rabbit and five injured eagles,” she says.

Asked what drives her, she says, “My aim is to inspire people. I want them to help stray animals and birds in distress, whether they are injured or sick. People should not turn a blind eye to the sufferings of animals and birds.”

Rajani has risked her life several times to rescue animals. During the first Covid-induced lockdown in 2020, a video of her climbing down into a well by tying a rope to her waist to rescue a dog went viral. Recently, she climbed down another well, which was 42-foot deep, and rescued a lactating dog.

“For the last 13 years, I have fed, rescued and treated animals using my own money. During the lockdowns, I struggled to feed them. I could not pay the house rent for almost five months and had to vacate. Along with my family, my animals and birds too became homeless. However, after my dog rescue video went viral, many donors helped me financially. I focus on feeding animals in remote areas where they rarely get anything to eat. I regularly visit State Bank, Police Commissionerate, Hoige Bazar and Bunder localities in Mangaluru to feed animals,” she says.

Mangaluru-based NGO Animal Care Trust helps sterilise Rajani’s animals, which are treated at a clinic run by Dr Yashaswi Naravi, a veterinary doctor at Kulshekar, and the Government Veterinary Hospital on Jail Road.

Her dream is to build a 24x7 veterinary hospital in Mangaluru exclusively for stray animals and birds. “If humans get injured or fall sick, people rush to help them. These animals and birds too need help. Even in my absence, there should be someone to look after these innocent creatures. A veterinary hospital is needed in Mangaluru,” she says.



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  • Manoj

    Could you please share his contact number?
    2 months ago reply
  • Krish Krishna

    What a great soul she is. i wouldnt mind helping out in meeting her dream of building Vet Hospital. Can you please provide rajni's contact details?
    4 months ago reply
    • Manoj

      Did u get any response Krish?
      2 months ago reply
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