Kalimpong, June 13: Stray animals in the hills will soon have a new home. An animal shelter spread over 33.6 decimals is set to come up at Lebong near Darjeeling by the end of this year.
To be built at an estimated cost of Rs 50 lakh, the shelter will be run by Help In Suffering (HIS) and funded by a France-based NGO — One Voice. The shelter will house all domesticated animals with special emphasis on dogs. The Jaipur-based HIS has been running a similar shelter — Kalimpong Animal Centre — here since 1994.
“If everything goes well, the centre should start functioning from September. We have already identified land for the project and the process to acquire it is in motion,” said Naveen Pandey, the vet in charge of Kalimpong Animal Centre. The new centre is expected to have one veterinary doctor and four auxiliary staff.
Observers feel that the centre will come as a boon to the people of Darjeeling, where the menace of street dogs is causing a problem to the residents. “Darjeeling reports more cases of rabies than Kalimpong because of the larger number of street dogs there,” said Yogesh Sharma, a veterinarian who is expected to run the new shelter.
In Kalimpong, the HIS-run centre has been particularly active in controlling the population of street dogs. It organises a bi-weekly mobile clinic between 6 am and 6 pm for stray dogs. “Most dogs are afflicted by mange and transmissible venereal disease. Besides vaccination, we also run animal birth control programme in the Kalimpong subdivision,” said Pandey.
The animal centre here is spread over 1.82 acre with kennels for dogs, an operation theatre and a clinic. The centre organises programmes in far-flung areas like Samthar, Singe, Nimbong, Yangmakun and Panbu.