Caring for strays

November 10, 2017 11:26 AM Swasti Gautam

The founder and her experience

Jan Salter, a citizen of the United Kingdom, has spent many years in Nepal and is an animal lover. Salter opened this organization after her visit to India where she was impressed by the way in which various organizations managed to rescue and treat street dogs efficiently. She came back to Nepal with the hope of building a dog friendly city. 
According to Pal, Salter loves spending time with her family of rescued cats and dogs at the KAT Centre. She is a painter and is also actively involved in helping Nepalis women and mentally disturbed people better their lives. 

Their aims and objectives

The primary aim of Kat Centre is to make Kathmandu a rabies-free city. “Every year thousands of people get bitten by stray dogs,” says Pal. “This organization vaccinates hundreds of dogs against rabies every month,” he adds. The vaccination can prevent many people from being affected by this lethal disease that has no cure till date. 
Secondly, they started Animal Birth Control Program (ABC) in 2004 with an objective of managing the stray dog population. Their trained staff picks up female stray dogs and takes them to the KAT Centre. There they are sterilized and given an ear mark to indicate that they have been treated. Plus, a veterinary staff keeps a health record of the dog and gives an individual tattoo for further identification. After their recovery, which might take up to six days, the dogs are released back in the same locality from which they were caught. 

Furthermore, they also have an operational Rescue and Treatment Program that picks up around 50 stray dogs every month, treats them for their medical problems, and then drops them from where they were picked up. 

Lastly, they are also involved in awareness programs and educating the general public. “Most often people abuse street dogs by throwing stones or even acid at them. We are striving to raise awareness against such inhumane actions,” says Pal. The organization spreads awareness among adults and children about the need for compassionate treatment to animals. Their Public Education Program also focuses on topic such as avoiding dog bites, rabies prevention, and proper waste disposal. 

Who are their supporters?

The operation of KAT Centre entirely depends on its generous donors. “We mostly have individual donors who are dog or cat lovers,” says Pal. “Also many tourist who come to Kathmandu and see the pitiful situation of our stray dogs have become our donors as well,” he adds. At the KAT Centre, one can contribute in cash or in kind. “We have volunteers who work for improving the lives of these animals. Many have adopted our cats and dogs and others volunteer to sponsor a dog or a kennel,” says Pal. 
The organization, however, does not always have enough donors. “We wish more people felt for this cause. That would enable us to enhance the technologies used to treat these animals. We also wish there were more people in Kathmandu interested in adopting stray animals,” says Pal. 

Challenges faced

“First of all we are constantly struggling to make our ends meet due to the lack of financial resources,” says Pal, claiming they get no support from the government. Pal also claims that people frequently mistreat and abuse street animals. “We have got many cases where dogs go to meat shops or slaughter houses in the hope of getting food and the annoyed shopkeepers there hit them with a khukuri causing great injury,” says Pal. 
According to Pal, there are very few organizations like the KAT Centre that work for the welfare of street animals. “It would be great if more organizations could help stray dogs. We can only keep 50 dogs at a time at our centre but there are many more dogs that need help,” claims Pal. 

Future plans 

Currently, KAT Centre is located in Budhanilkantha in Kathmandu where they have rented an office space. This organization is planning to buy its own space in the future in order to be able to treat more dogs. “Till date, we have been able to treat about 1500 dogs each year. But we want to raise that number to 3000 per year in the future,” explains Pal. 
The organization is also planning to invest in good equipment and technology to provide better facilities to stray dogs. Kat Centre’s primary objective was and is to create an animal friendly society where cruelty against strays is completely eradicated.  

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