When 21-year-old Sagar Sheth was in the second year of college in Chennai, he once chanced upon a puppy with an open head wound. Naturally, he called for help, but no one responded. Sagar’s encounter with the puppy finally ended the way many others do in our cities – having to ignore an animal in distress because of lack of resources or knowledge.
But Sagar decided that something had to be done to change this situation. And so with help from animal activists, animal lovers, NGOs and veterinarians, Sagar came up with a tech solution: AnimApp, an app to accurately report animals in need of rescue to the Blue Cross of India.
The app, developed in association with Blue Cross, was the result of almost two years of brainstorming, volunteering for rescues with skilled animal welfare officers and numerous business plans.
Here’s how it works. A user who comes across any animal in distress (injured, sick, abandoned, abused) can report the animal in three simple steps; click a picture of the animal, tag their location and provide details of the animal.
The rescue team at Blue Cross of India, Chennai gets notified and ensure that they attend to the animal. The user also receives feedback about the status of the animal they helped rescue.
“To an individual who has no idea who to call if they notice an injured animal on the road, AnimApp plays the role of a facilitator, all with the click of a few buttons. AnimApp also gives users the option of donating to a particular animal that has been rescued or even adopting the animal,” Sagar explains.
To generate interest among such donors in the stories behind animal rescues and adoptions, a storyboard feature was also created. It’s lesser than a pitch but more than a testimonial, says Sagar. “I found that a lot of people who read these accounts were coming forward to make donations, enquire how the animal was or if they can visit or even adopt him/her,” he says.
The app also recruits an army of volunteers to help. “Currently we've tied up with Blue Cross to enhance the rescue experience for their drivers, and will slowly equip every volunteer at Blue Cross with First Aid and basic rescue tactics to add to the army,” Sagar says.
Sagar hopes to move AnimApp’s operations to other cities and enable a nationwide Smart Rescue. For shelters, he’s working on enabling a call-to-app feature that will allow them to register call complaints via the app and assign it to their drivers.
Another major issue AnimApp is focused on dealing with is the abandonment of pets. Once the ‘cute kitten or puppy’ phase passes, or if families are moving cities and cannot take their pet along, the animal ends up on the street, often without the skills to survive on their own.
"An approach to deal with this is to make certain that the animal being adopted or bought is going to a safe, caring family who genuinely want a four-legged companion and not just for show," says Sagar. He also calls for mandatory pre-adoption background checks as well as post-adoption routine check-ups of the pet with his/her new family.
You can download AnimaApp on the Google Play Store for Android phones. The iOS version is set to be released in December.
Watch a video on the app here: