Sunday , 26 April 2020
Ms Kusuma M
DD, Horticultural Department
Sub: Conservation and appropriate use of Heritage structure at Cubbon Park given to Karuna Animal Welfare
This has reference to our earlier discussion on the issue of the heritage SPCA structure now called Karuna Animal Shelter opposite the Queen Victoria statue. Records show SPCA was set up in 1888 but registered as a charity in May 1916. Originally in the early 1900s, this was used for upkeep and treatment of the horses of the Mounted police or British horse riders in the park , as well as taking care of any accident or cruelty cases to other animals like dogs and cats via SPCA. Post-independence, it was re allotted to Bangalore SPCA.
This office has been largely unused for the last 10 years after Bangalore SPCA was formally shut down in Bangalore and the former NGO now re structured as Karuna Animal shelter in the late 1980s, continued from its new name as of 2001. Both Heritage supporters and Animal Welfare people have been surprised that this office has been completely non-functional, hardly occupied, and very rarely responsive on issues of Animal Welfare. Calls to the number largely go unanswered and most trauma or accident cases that happen close by anyway are sent to CUPA or CARE instead. This is an underuse of central location to address cases of animal cruelty. Since there is little clarity on why and how it is there, and perhaps because no one has questioned it, it has continued in this odd limbo. This needs to be addressed and better late than never.
While the transfer to a private NGO like Karuna may have happened by default and perhaps with a good intention to continue the good work of Animal Welfare, we are concerned that both from an ownership perspective and a functional perspective of delivering on Animal Welfare there is no upside or positive impact at all. Even accident or trauma cases in Cubbon Park with the Park dogs are not treated here, as there is no one in the office most of the week. We understand that this tiny structure comes under the purview of the Horticulture department and since this is largely unused we would request that this be used a living museum highlighting Cubbon Park heritage, showcase the historical animal care focus, animal trauma coordination, and the back area be reserved for any animal trauma at Cubbon park itself. As you are aware many from The CJ Memorial Trust and Cubbon Park Canines group look after the hundred or so dogs in the park. This would be very beneficial for us to ensure the few dogs that get hurt or need treatment can be temporarily housed until we transfer them to a shelter or hospital for treatment . To this extent, a couple of rusted cages already there that can be repaired and used .
We have been meaning to discuss this for the last few years but with one thing or the other it has been passed over for bringing it to your attention. However considering the tremendous concerns around heritage and preservation as well as lack of functionality of the animal shelter that we would request that the suggestions that we have given, as well as an oversight for helping on this from the Animal Welfare aspect can be considered, so as to provide continuity towards its original purpose as well as maintain this beautiful though small heritage structure.
We look forward to hearing from you and to your kind and immediate action on this matter.
Thanking you ,
cc BBMP Commissioner
cc: Chief Secretary
cc Heritage Conservation Committee, Bangalore (ACS , UDD)