International Animal Rescue was set up in Goa on the west coast of India to reduce the suffering of the stray dog population.
Unregulated breeding had resulted in large numbers of sick and starving dogs and puppies on the streets and beaches. Since then our sterilisation and vaccination programmes in Goa and subsequently also in Tamil Nadu have dramatically reduced the numbers of strays. Sterilisation also stops male dogs fighting over females and suffering wounds that quickly become infected and infested with maggots if left untreated.
As a result of our anti-rabies vaccinations (AR) cases of rabies in humans have also been eliminated in the areas where we operate.
How it works
International Animal Rescue is licensed under the Indian government's Animal Birth Control (ABC) grant system which pays 400INR (around £5.50) towards the cost of every dog that is sterilised. Stray dogs in need of treatment are brought in to our clinics. They may have been spotted by our ambulance drivers, but locals and tourists also often tell us where to find animals in need of help. Indian dogs are smart and streetwise, making them hard to catch unless you're an experienced trapper. But our teams have the skills to catch even the most difficult dogs with a minimum of fuss.
During their stay at our centres the dogs are housed in individual kennels and given as much attention and handling as possible by our staff and volunteers. Street dogs are often remarkably friendly, particularly in Goa where western tourists befriend and feed them. However, it is important to return treated dogs to their territory as soon as possible: a dog that has been away too long will be regarded as an outsider when it returns and will be attacked and driven away from its former home.
Treated dogs have their ears tipped and are fitted with an IAR collar to identify them. Sometimes dogs aren't returned to their territory: they may have an injury or ailment which means they can't fend for themselves, or they may be considered suitable for adoption. Some lucky ones that can't be released are found to fit in well with our family of centre dogs, and end up with a home for life, like doggy ambassador Olive in Goa.
A vital part of our work to improve the welfare of dogs and cats is the education of local people. Fear of being attacked or catching a disease can lead people to persecute dogs. At International Animal Rescue we teach people, young and old, that animals are sentient beings that deserve our compassion and respect. The animals themselves are our greatest ambassadors: they show us all not only how we can improve their lives, but also the comfort and joy that they can bring into ours.