When he was younger, Kodai the horse stood tall and pulled a grand tonga through the streets of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu. But after a leg injury affected his gait and his health, he was abandoned on the streets.
In Bengaluru, a cow, now named Basavi, was hit by a speeding car while she stood on the side of the road. Pregnant at the time, Basavi was seriously injured, with glass shards from the car piercing her skin.
Both of these animals have one thing in common. They were found wandering city streets, abandoned, with no one to look after them.
Hundreds of domestic animals are left behind by their owners, either because they fall ill, suffer an injury or simply grow too old to garner any revenue. Even when adoption drives are held for abandoned animals, dogs and cats are the popular choices and there are no takers for the larger domestic animals like cows, horses and donkeys.
â€śMany male calves used to be abandoned after the owners thought that they were no use to them. Many of them are either abandoned or sent to the slaughterhouse when they are as young as six or seven days old for a mere Rs 250,â€ť said Rajini Badami, who runs the large animal rescue and rehabilitation centre (LAARC) of the organisation Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA).
LARRC currently has 100 large animals under its care at the shelter in Kengeri. A majority of these abandoned animals were once used for labour and transport and were either abandoned or found injured on the streets.
Meanwhile, in Chennai, animal activist Shravan Krishnan has started taking in larger animals found injured or abandoned on the roads in addition to the smaller animals he rescues and tends to. The shelter he owns currently has four animals â€“ two horses and two calves.
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With inputs from Anjana Shekar