Published: 02nd April 2020
Lockdown tales: This Bengaluru man runs an animal shelter and feeds at least 70 strays every day
Praveen Kumar runs an animal shelter in Bengaluru talks to us about the troubles that he's been facing since the lockdown began and how he makes it a point to serve animals on the streets
Praveen Kumar has lost count of the number of calls that he had received int he past few days about dog deaths. Most of them had succumbed themselves to hunger, as there was no one on the streets to feed them during the lockdown, which will go on for 13 more days. Now Praveen is no God, but he decided to do his bit - feed every stray animal that he comes across on his way to and back from work.
A gym trainer-turned-activist, Praveen is the Founder of an NGO called We Save Animals located near Kanankpura Road in Bengaluru. He says, "Gym training is not a full-time job. I had a lot of free time between mornings and evenings and I did not want to waste it. So, I started rescuing animals, snakes and birds. I then started an animal shelter so that I can rescue as many animals as I want and take care of them. In the past nine years, I have rescued thousands of animals and birds."
Now let's get back to the lockdown story. Praveen tells us how he meets at least 70 animals on his way from home to animal shelter. Every day, he buys around 100 biscuit packets for dogs and vegetables and fruits worth Rs 1,000 for cows and monkeys. He says, "I travel every day from JP Nagar to Kanakpura. I stop wherever I see an animal, feed them biscuits and water and move ahead. This way, I stop at more than 15 places." Praveen tells us how it takes him three hours, to reach work every day. He starts at 12 pm and reaches the shelter by 3 pm. In the mornings, he spends two hours, 8 to 10, feeding all the strays near his house.
Now owing to the lockdown, Praveen admits that it has become difficult for him to buy enough biscuit boxes for the animals. But he's got a solution. He has now started cooking chapatis for the animals. Similarly, during weekends, he cooks rice in large amounts and mixes it along with chicken and soybean for the strays.
He also recalls an instance where he stood in line for more than three hours to get a box of biscuits. "I usually buy biscuits from small grocery stores or supermarkets. But from the past three days, they have not been able to get enough stock. Sometimes, even if they have stock, they deny to give it to me, because they know that I feed animals. Yesterday, I went to a shop to buy biscuits, rice and other groceries to feed animals, where I stood in line from 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm. These are the most difficult of times. But feeding these hungry animals is what matters to me and gives me happiness," he says.