A number of people have gotten in touch with us about an injured limping donkey on 26th Street in DHA, Karachi the past couple of weeks. The first time someone told us about him, we immediately contacted The Brooke’s senior veterinarian here in Karachi, who then sent their mobile clinic to look into the matter the very next day.
The Brooke is the largest animal welfare organisation in Pakistan. They have centers in 8 cities of the country. According to their extensive experience with working animals, most of the donkeys you see roaming around on their own, injured or otherwise, are not stray. The owners are usually very much around and aware of their animals’ plight, but choose to leave them out on the streets for various reasons.
This particular owner, when located, refused to listen to The Brooke vets’ advice, claiming that he was already getting the services of a quack who would re-break the leg and try to fix it. The Brooke staff advised him against that, as they had diagnosed the leg as unfixable because of the way it had broken and healed. The donkey is unfit for any work in the future, and probably in pain, especially if the quack’s had a go at him. The Brooke staff administered a pain killer at that time, and suggested one of two options to the owner: either to ask the Edhi Foundation to take him to their animal shelter off the superhighway, or to euthanise him. But the owner would hear none of it.
Now such a situation puts one in a real fix. You can’t take away someone’s animal if they’re not willing to let go of it. It is often difficult in our country to try and help people when it comes to their animals because either they don’t trust you, or they want something more out of the situation. Someone said maybe the owner’s left the donkey out on the streets on purpose, and that too near a shrine, so that someone may come forward and replace his donkey for him. This we have done in the past and have learnt that such an approach doesn’t work. In almost all of the cases, the owner sold off the new donkey of his choice, and a dozen others of his neighbours pleaded for a new animal too. Obviously, one can’t keep doing this. There is also the danger that someone might injure a donkey on purpose and demand a new one from us.
The Brooke staff have since been to this owner four more times to try to talk sense into him, but he hasn’t budged. We sincerely wish the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was active in Karachi like it is in Lahore. However, the Karachi SPCA, although founded in the late 1870s, is no longer functional. This is a classic cruelty case, one that the owner would’ve been immediately fined for and gotten his animal confiscated by the SPCA animal inspectors. Sadly, we have no SPCA, nor animal inspectors, and private NGOs are legally not allowed to take on this role. Till the day the SPCA is revived, we need to think of some other way to help this poor donkey.
We have an idea. Let’s 6 or 7 of us get together and try to soften the donkey owner’s heart and talk him into doing the best thing for his animal. We could have tea with him, or maybe even treat him to lunch. Once he agrees, we call Edhi and have the animal shifted to their shelter.
Btw, in case of emergencies, call Dr. Zulfiqar Otho at 0321 247 1053. Dr. Otho is the director of the Karachi Animal Hospital, a private clinic in DHA6 where we often take rescued injured street animals.