Nusrat Jahan Pritom visits Obhoyaronno – Bangladesh Animal and Welfare Society to better understand the dynamics of the organization
A glance at the pitiable state of the dogs in the centre or on the roads will give you an idea of why it is human beings who are the most frightening species on this planet. While there are some cases of road accidents, countless animals get injured because they simply become the victims of the malice of a human being.
Rubaiya Ahmad, Founder and Chairman of Obhoyaronno, Bangladesh Animal Welfare Society, further emphasizes on that. “All animals are suffering now. It is a misconception in most people that dogs are harmful. Killing a dog is not a solution to rabies. The dog deserves to live as much as any human! Here at the centre we vaccinate the dogs, sterilize them and set them free.”
Rubaiya had volunteered for a cat rescue programme in the United States as well as for the Indiana Zoo and she says that the experience motivated her to do something about animal welfare in this country. Her love and compassion had prompted her to be kind to all animals. However when one day in 2009, Dhaka City Corporation killed one of her dogs it was the last straw. She decided that something needed to be done. Obhoyaronno began its work since that year but officially it started in 2011. They became the winner of the HSUS Animal Advocate of the Year 2012 Award, for doing exceptional work for Bangladesh’s animal welfare. The journey had few obstacles in the way of course. “It took a few years to mobilize the government but you can say things went well.On 14 December 2014, the court gave a no-kill-dogs order so this is quite a big victory for us.”
Nadia, the lawyer who has been in charge of the case said, “Animal cruelty is wrong beyond any doubt, but now that we have this order, you can say that it’s official.”
Rubaiya encourages everybody to take action against animal cruelty. “If you can save one dog in your entire life, it is a big achievement,” she adds.
Most people would ring the centre up and report a problem such as a person beating a dog. But they do not venture to do anything on their own. Rubaiya says this is a very wrong approach. “First of all, by the time we reach the place, the dog may be no more. So if a person witnesses somebody beating a dog or acting cruelly towards an animal, we encourage them to speak up and raise their voice because it is wrong. Animal cruelty is illegal but most people do not know. Second fact is that our center has limitations. We cannot accommodate a thousand dogs here. So we encourage everybody to rise against this injustice. One cannot do these things alone.”
Lusana Masrur, the communications coordinator at Obhoyaronno adds, “Humanity is a big issue here. One who is kind towards animals will also be kind to other people. Animals are usually the victim of people’s cruelty because they are vulnerable and they cannot express their abuse. So we really need to change the mindset. Compassion should be for all.”
Obhoyaronno has conducted various projects to raise awareness on this issue. During their first anniversary, they organized a big event at Robindro Sarabar for a “No Culling” Campaign. They have vaccinated and sterilized thousands of dogs till now. “We plan to extend our works to all parts of Bangladesh now. Next we also hope to work in the sector of buying/selling of animals.”
Animals have as much right as human beings to live in this world. The existence of organizations like Obhoyaronno is a positive step towards ensuring that these animals receive proper treatment and are able to live without the fear of human abuse.