In a city with the stray dog population crossing 95,000, and with an even higher estimate of stray cats, there is just one hospital with all the medical facilities to cater to them.
The Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals, also known as the Parel Animal Hospital, attends to more or less all sick, stray animals in the city. The cases in the hospital range from basic sterilisation and treatment of infection to emergency treatment of injured or diseased animals. Dogs, cats, birds and even larger animals are treated here.
The hospital, working in tandem with at least 20 NGOs across the city, monitors the health of the strays. “We operate from Bandra to Dahisar.
It’s extremely difficult when we encounter a case that needs urgent attention in and around Dahisar, because we have to take the animal to Parel for treatment. There should be at least one more hospital in the suburbs,” said Rinky Karmakar, acting president of Save Our Strays, an NGO.
The hospital has not more than 500-600 animals admitted at a time. For 180 kennels available, on an average there are 220 dogs. “When we face a shortage of space, we create makeshift space for these animals. But we cannot refuse admission to any injured animal,” said superintendent (retired) Lt Colonel JC Khanna. According to him, the cases of stray animal accidents, involving broken limbs, substantially increase during monsoon when the space crunch is acute.
“Currently, there are three centres for dog sterilization under the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), but there is none for cats. The cat population is exploding. BMC needs more support for these medical facilities,” said Karmakar.
The condition of the city’s wildlife is no better. Sunish Subramanium, secretary of NGO Plant and Animal Voice, says, “Rescued animals like birds and turtles need to be looked after for 2-3 days, but with one hospital which is usually full, we scramble to provide for these animals.”