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Rescuers Hustle as Animal Shelter Floods in Chennai, India

Dogs, cats rescued from rooftops, cattle, goats provided with feed


DECEMBER 16, 2015 - After heavy rainfall in the middle of November, the metropolis of Chennai was flooded for days. Over 300 people drowned and thousands lost their homes.


Several feet of water ran over streets while electricity failures cut off many people from the outside world. Thousands of animals are affected by the deluge.  FOUR PAWS, the international animal welfare organization, with offices in Boston, MA has provided financial support and has deployed a team of three veterinarians into India. Local animal welfare organization Blue Cross of India, called out for help when their animal clinic began to flood.



The FOUR PAWS team arrived in Chennai last week and will be active on site for about two weeks. Up to now, over 600 dogs, cats, cattle and goats have be provided with feed. Animals have been treated and vaccinated in the Blue Cross clinic. Fortunately in the clinic, cages and animals were removed from harm’s way and the flooding has subsided. However, in some places the water level is still several feet high and many animals needed to be rescued from the rooftops which they had fled to. The FOUR PAWS team was led by Dr. Anca Tomescu with support from Jackson Zee, leader of the FOUR PAWS disaster relief mission, to the severely hit city.  


 “Fortunately, we have boats at our disposal, but the water is extremely dirty, full of dead rats and snakes and we cannot rule out the possible danger of an epidemic,” Dr. Tomescu describes the situation. “This makes it even more important to medically treat and vaccinate the animals as rapidly as possible. This way we can prevent epidemics and also save human lives.” FOUR PAWS will keep on distributing more animal feed in the next days.


Carrying out operations in Chennai is not new to FOUR PAWS. The cooperation with the Blue Cross of India started in 2007 and ever since then, FOUR PAWS team has traveled there twice every year. Dr. Tomescu explains, “The veterinarians in India are very experienced, but they are simply overwhelmed with the sheer number of animals in need here and can use all the support they can get.” India has got the largest number of stray animals worldwide, with their population being estimated at 25 million dogs and five times as many cats. “We will do everything in our power to help as many animals as possible together with our partners from Blue Cross”, states Dr.Tomescu.


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