Main activities of CHAL-USA
In the metropolitan city of Chennai, there has not been a single reported case of rabies among humans for several years now.
This is thanks to the untiring efforts of the Chennai-based Blue Cross of India, a 50-year-old animal welfare organization, which launched the ABC-AR (Animal Birth Control-Anti Rabies vaccination) program more than four decades ago.
The organization rounds up stray dogs, which are then taken to its shelters and spayed or neutered. They are then vaccinated against rabies and released into the very neighborhood from where they were picked up.
By reducing the capacity of street dogs to overpopulate, the overall likelihood of negative encounters between humans and stray dogs is reduced.
Research has shown that the health of a dog living in a community of sterilized dogs is buffered.
As the dogs cease to be perceived as a health threat, there will be little or no need for local governments to engage in the kinds of horrific wholesale slaughter of dogs by the catch-and-kill procedure that had been in practice until a couple of decades ago in some metropolitan cities of India.
Today, a number of other animal welfare organizations in India are engaged in the ABC-AR program. More are needed to check the spread of the dreadful disease among India’s street dogs, estimated to be between 8 and 20 million.
CHAL USA’s mission is to support proven programs enhancing the welfare of street dogs, as well as the human communities in which they live in villages, towns and cities in South Asia.
Our first and counting
In early 2014, CHAL made its first grant raised through donations from generous supporters.
The money was given to Blue Cross of India, which is collaborating with ‘Mission Rabies’ to cover the cost of catching, sterlizing and vaccinating approximately 1000 street dogs.
In September 2013, Mission Rabies launched with a massive campaign, powered by veterinarians and volunteers from 14 countries, to achieve over 60,000 dog vaccinations in just 28 days across 12 locations in India. They now aim to vaccinate 2 million dogs over the next three years in key rabies-affected areas, as well as train an army of over 200 Indian veterinarians in sustainable, humane dog population and rabies control.
Blue Cross of India in Chennai has been in the forefront of the ABC-AR program, found to be an effective means of checking the spread of rabies.
Through their efforts, the city of Chennai has been declared rabies-free and has remained a poster child for other cities to emulate.
Ilona Otter is the clinical director of the Worldwide Veterinary Service International Training Center.
She periodically trains veterinarians working in animal welfare organizations in India on the best practices for the ABC-AR program, including the responsible use of antibiotics and release time.
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