The Odisha government on Monday began an ambulance service for animals. As part of the service, two vehicles will be deployed in the urban areas of Berhampur and Cuttack to provide emergency assistance to sick and injured animals.
The vehicles are equipped with surgical instruments, sterilizers and standing support instruments to treat animals suffering from diseases or injuries. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik unveiled the ambulances.
The state government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 1 crore to sustain the service. The two vehicles, along with the tools, cost around Rs 30 lakh. Five staff members, comprising a veterinary surgeon, attendants and a livestock inspector, would be attached to each ambulance, said Pratap Chandra Dash, director of animal husbandry and veterinary services.
“Right now, we do not have any helpline or toll-free number for the service, but we will circulate the phone numbers of the block veterinary officer and the chief district veterinary officers so that people can contact them. They can also contact the local livestock inspectors to use the service,” said Dash, adding that calls on accidents of cattle and dogs on the road were quite common.
“Sometimes people face difficulty in identifying the owners of injured or distressed livestock and leave them unattended for a long period. The ambulance teams will provide emergency veterinary assistance to such animals. They may also bring sick animals to the nearest veterinary hospital for follow-up treatment,” said a senior officer of the animal resources development department.