Hell for stray dogs is the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Autonagar dog pound

Starving dogs are reduced to eating puppies at GHMC Autonagar dog pound

Primary accounts from Hyderabad by Akshara M., Vijayadevi Mamidi (advocate & animal rights volunteer), Mrs Padmaja Bundla (President and Founder, Caring Hands for Animals). Pictures and videos taken here were taken surreptitiously on location since GHMC staff would not allow any pictures to be taken. Compiled by Rakesh Shukla for The Voice of Stray Dogs. Picture and video gallery at the bottom of the article.

Crammed dogs at GHMC, waiting to die a slow terrible death

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has been in the news many times for the active cruelty in the animal shelters it runs in the Greater Hyderabad areas. By most accounts this cruelty perhaps the worst that can be inflicted by man, is not new and has been systematically practiced for years, if not decades. This article starts with an eyewitness account of the Autonagar dog pound on July 29, July 30th and Aug 9 2011. And looks at the same incidents in the past years. GHMC has five dog pounds in Hyderabad at Amberpet, Autonagar, Jeedimetla, Patancheru, Zumerath Bazar.

The GHMC Autonagar building itself is an industrial shed, with large open gaps that act as windows and ventilation. In the ‘shed’ there are metal grill cages with grill floors.

  • Dogs crammed into cages: A cage fit to house 1-2 dogs for a day or 2 to recuperate with very limited movement easily has 6 to 8 dogs. Some have 12 to 15 dogs crammed in.
  • No water: Most of the cages have no water troughs and when there are water troughs, they did not have water. For the ones that had water – in ALL cases the water was filthy with larvae and germs clearly visible.
  • Systematic starvation: Food is watery white rice with some diluted milk or curd. All the dogs are fed with ONE bowl in each cage. The quantity of food given is to barely feed one dog in one meal, but there is only ONE meal with ONE serving for ALL the dogs in a cage. This means that the strongest dog eats all the food and the other 6-7 dogs at an average have nothing to eat all! It is evident that sanction for rations for dogs are being pilfered by the staff. The investigator brought biscuits for the dogs at the pound that were also stolen and the staff member caught in possession of the biscuits.
  • Shocked inmates: Most dogs look deceptively calm since since they are in shock, exhausted from lack of food and water, and the constant howling and screeching of dogs still getting used to the GHMC pound. There’re pictures of the starved dead dogs lying in a cage partially eaten by other dogs in the same cage.
  • Pups eaten by starving adults: Starving mothers and pups share the cages with other adult dogs. Since the most aggressive males get to eat the limited food, the mothers starve and so do their babies. There’s a video of a dead pup being eaten by an adult dog in a cage.
  • Rampant disease: In these conditions dogs and most of all puppies, would die of disease. Most dogs had blood in their urine and faeces, most of the time urine is almost all blood and faeces just mucous.
  • Prize trophies: GHMC however has ‘display dogs’! Some operated dogs are kept to be displayed and never released to ‘show’ that dogs are not killed by spayed/neutered. The dogs would stay on ‘display’ for as long as they live i.e. do not die of starvation or disease.
  • Operated by helpers: Eye witness accounts show dogs are being operated by helpers in the pound. 2 dogs were seen to have their surgery wounds open and intestines spilled out on the floor (see video) of the living dog.
  • Pedigreed dogs: ‘Pedigreed’ dogs were kept in separate cages – they have the privilege of having a full bowl of fetid water and a full bowl of unfit food. This is because they are resold, mostly to breeders. Akshara found down being killed because they had ‘skin infections’ dogs being beaten, a few had lost their eyes, broken tails that had been caught in cages.

Starving mothers and pups dying of disease

Since the release rate seems to be abysmally low the only want place is made for incoming dogs is with death due to disease, starvation or being ‘euthanized’. Dogs were seen after 10 days still not spayed/neutered but now weak, starving, diseased, waiting to die. In a gap of 10 days between 30th July and 9th Aug Akshara could see about 30 to 40 dogs missing (since she had fed them she was able to estimate) and the survivors were skeletons and infected withdisease.This lead her to estimate that between 100 to 200 dogs are dying per week.
CHFA has highlighted GHMC before:

  • This is not the first time that GHMC has been reported. In an open letter to the Animal Welfare Board of India on Aug 13, 2011, Mrs Padmaja Bundla, Caring Hands for Animals (CHFA) highlighted that the CVO of GHMC Dr. V Reddy had claimed in The Hindu on June 30th that “… our maintenance has even been appreciated by a team of the Animal Welfare Board which visited the city recently…” and CHFA had immediatley supplied a rebuttal with the pathetic conditions that has existed with GHMC dog pounds.  But no governmental agency seems to take note of the conditions prevailing at GHMC.

    CHFA had earlier described GHMC Amberpet facility as a "death trap"

  • CHFA goes on to show that GHMC had started the  dog and monkey pound in Amberpet without even a roof. Animals were kept out in the sun in burning hot cages made of mild steel. This was till CHFA erected temporary shelters, for the cages, but even then GHMC refused to move the cages inside!

Deccan Chronicle has highlighted GHMC before:

On June 9th, 2009, Deccan Chronicle in an article titled “GHMC flouts all rules”  said

Deccan Chronicle reported on GHMC in June 2009

‘GHMC flouts almost every rule in the book including Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code that make it  illegal to maim any animal. They do so openly and quite smug about it’. Venkateswara Reddy, Chief Veterinary Doctor, GHMC was quoted as saying, “Yes, there are many rules that are not put into practice in the city yet. We use ropes to catch dogs as nets are used only if the dogs are very big.” The same report mentions the GHMC pound in Chudibazaar where 20-30 dogs were crammed into a cage meant for 3 dogs. “Most of them end up decomposing alive. They are left to starve and can be seen gasping for breath. Their carcasses are dumped in Keesaragutta.”

GHMC has been served a legal notice on similar practices earlier

In a Legal Notice served on GHMC on 25 Jun 2009 by AWBI for contravention of law, and of Supreme Court directions by GHMC, its functionaries & its employees and agents, AWBI said:

  • AWBI is has ‘received complaints from several concerned citizens of Hyderabad city, who are possessed of photographs, and other material to substantiate their contentions, that in ostensibly rounding up stray dogs for ‘animal birth control’ and taking them to pounds, such as the pound at Chudi Bazaar, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, dogs are caught in the cruelest of ways not sanctioned by any law, with complete disregard as to any pain or injury or any other bodily harm that they may suffer as a consequence.
  • That this ‘grossly violating the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, since the dogs that are caught are kept at the pound in the most abject, horrible of conditions –– 20 to 30 crammed into each ‘cage’, with no place to sit, or even stand properly, let alone lie down ; suffocating slowly to a most cruel death ; or dying of starvation and thirst, since food and water are a rarity, rarely provided ; or killed by other dogs, since too many are crammed into small enclosures ; decaying carcasses not removed from cages ; feces and stink all around, and never cleaned’
  • And further asked ‘why are so many dogs being caught if you do not have the facility to house, sterilize and vaccinate all, and then release them into the very areas that they had been picked up from? Secondly, is any record being maintained of the number of dogs that are caught, the areas from which they are caught, when and where they are released after sterilization (if at all), other treatment administered to them, if any?’

It is obvious that the system administration and monitoring of ABC in Hyderabad, in the case of GHMC, has completely failed. Will insipid steps most likely going to be taken in this direction by the local administration and NGOs, as before, work this time? And till then would the Stray Dogs of Hyderabad have to live out their lives in a hell they are surely destined for, for a crime they did not commit?

Live dog with its intestines lying on the floor at GHMC Autonagar dog pound

Howling can’t get you out of this hell