Pet owners abandon dogs at Madras Veterinary College
A jet-black Labrador cross-breed with a shiny coat was the cynosure of all eyes at the Madras Veterinary College in Vepery. It had a neck collar and a leash, but someone had abandoned the animal.
The Labrador ran behind people who brought their pets for treatment, and sometimes approached cars with the hope of finding the owners. For four days, it found shelter at the Kalaignar Block, where veterinarians fed it and provided water. On the fifth day, it was found dead with blood oozing from its rectum.
On the same day, a Doberman, afflicted with canine distemper, a deadly viral disease, was found abandoned on the campus. Another local breed with a bobtail and a neck collar, filled with anxiety, was seen running around the campus as it was unfamiliar with the surroundings.
“People regularly abandon their pets on the campus. In a month, we find 10 animals and offer treatment on compassionate grounds. But we cannot keep the animals permanently as we are an educational institution and we are not running shelters for animals,” said S. Ayyappan, Resident Veterinary Officer, Madras Veterinary College. In the case of the Labrador cross-breed, its owners had abandoned it after it was diagnosed with corneal edema in the left eye. Even those who came forward to adopt the dog gave up their plans after realising it had an eye problem.
“The eye condition can be treated. As far as the distemper is concerned, it is the negligence on the part of the pet owner that cost the dog its life. He could have vaccinated the dog for viral diseases including Parvo and Distemper, and the vaccination is very cheap in our college,” explained Dr Ayyappan, who sometimes makes arrangements for the adoption of abandoned dogs.
People buy puppies and their enthusiasm dries up once they grow into adults. In some cases, the barking of dog poses a nuisance to neighbours and owners leave the animals on the streets or on the campus of the veterinary college, thinking the college will take care of them.
Cats can survive
“While cats survive in the outside world, dogs kept as pets find it extremely difficult to cope with the situation. Sometimes they enter classrooms, and there are incidents of students being bitten by the dogs,” said Dr. Ayyappan.
Asked whether the college could not prevent people from leaving their animals, S. Balasubramanian, Director of Clinics, said the security guards had been instructed to not allow anyone to tie dogs to electric lamps or trees. “We have 64 cameras closely monitoring the campus. Pet parents should always carry the animals with them and are not be allowed to tie the animals anywhere. They still find a place away from the cameras and leave the animals,” he said.
Those who visit the campus with the objective of abandoning the animal also register fake addresses. “We often found their address to be fake after confirming the identity of the pet owner recorded by a camera,” Dr. Balasubramanian said.