We are now entering our fourth year of working in Goa and it looks like 2000 will be the year when our sterilisation clinic really gets established.
In June 1999 we purchased our very own property which we named ’Animal Tracks’ after our rescue centre in Devon. The property comprises a small house and a surgery. During the latter part of 1999 we were busy applying for grants to develop our new property into a fully operational sterilisation centre.
The Indian government under the guidance of Maneka Gandhi (The Indian Government Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment) has introduced probably the most extensive animal welfare laws in the world, giving Indian animals an amazing amount of protection. IAR Goa applied to the government of India for grants to help with the establishment of our sterilisation clinic.
We soon discovered that we were eligible for three separate grants:
- ABC Grant This is the Animal Birth Control grant. This grant pays us Rs 340 per dog for sterilisation and immunisation. This is just under £5.00 and although not generous at least it gives us something. This allows us to sterilise 1700 dogs.
- Grant for the provision of ambulance services This grant allowed us to purchase a brand new Mahindra jeep to use as an animal ambulance
- Grant for the provision of kennels This grant will allow us to build new kennels and animal houses on our land to house the animals before and after their operations.
We are very grateful to the government of India for helping us set up this much needed sterilisation clinic and for helping us navigate through the difficult waters of grant applications.
At present we employ 3 UK staff at the clinic, Nichola, Haley and Seth, who trap, transport and help look after the animals along with vets from Holland, Ireland and the UK who have all done an amazing job of building up the network required to make the project work. This has included negotiations with local councils to sterilise dogs in their areas, working with other animal welfare charities such as People For Animals (PFA), Ahimsa in Bombay and Friendicoes in Delhi. Nichola has worked hard to take our compassionate message into schools with great success.
We also employ three local staff to help with general duties and one, Glenda, acts as our vet nurse helping the vets with their operations. We intend to keep European staff at the centre for the next three years and hope that within that time we can encourage more and more Indian nationals to take over from us.
IAR are committed to these sterilisation schemes and hope to set up similar projects throughout India. From June/July 2000 we hope to employ a full time fundraiser/ administration officer to help with the crucial job of raising funds within Goa. We feel that the tourists of Goa will be able to contribute huge amounts of money to our work if approached in a professional way. We have already had substantial donations from Holland (including our first animal ambulance) and look forward to help from German and British tourists.