There are 300,000 dogs living on the streets of Ahmedabad. While the government has attempted to initiate a sterilization project, this has not been successful as government hospitals are underdeveloped and government vets are unable to perform sterilizations. For these reasons, ASHA was set up as a non-government organisation working for street dogs. Many street dogs are victims of human cruelty but also suffer from skin problems, starvation, gastric problems and road accidents. Rabies is also very common, with 35-45 dogs dying every day. This has a large impact on the human community as poorer people are unable to afford the rabies vaccines and so die if bitten. The families of those bitten will often then attack groups of dogs leading to unnecessary suffering of the animals. Anti rabies vaccines and sterilization are the only options to control the problem.
Jagdish Bhai, a trained nurse with 15 years animal experience, performs the operations. Before the surgery he examines the animals and pre-medicates them with Siquil (Triflupromazine Hydrochloride injection). The dogs are then anaesthetized with I.V. Thiopentone or occasionally Diazepam and Ketamine.
Before surgery, all instruments are sterilized in an autoclave and dogs are cleaned and shaven. The male castration takes around 20 minutes and the female spaying (tube-tying) takes around 30 minutes.
After surgery, Meloxicam is given for pain-relief. The dogs also receive antibiotics: usually Ceftriaxone. Male dogs are kept in the kennels for 2-3 days and females for 3-4 days. Before being released, they are given an anti-rabies vaccine and their ears are nicked to mark which dogs have been sterilized and given vaccines.
The foundation runs purely on donations, many of which come from the directors of multi-national companies such as Tata Chemicals. Several companies have sponsored sterilization projects in different areas, for example, one in which the staff travelled to Jamnagar district and sterilized around 2000 dogs.
Some dogs also live in the suburb area of the city known as “New Ahmedabad”. Around 20,000 residents of the city also keep dogs as pets, whether in the home, farm houses, hotels, schools or companies. While these dogs are mostly well looked after sometimes there are cases of abandonment, which increases the street dog population.
The government hospital is underdeveloped, with no kennels or ambulances and only operates during weekdays thus providing little to no service for suffering street animals and birds. In addition, the government S.P.C.A is about to close. This leaves ASHA as the only hospital for street animals and birds in Ahmedabad city.