Meet Rajani Shetty, the stray savior of Mangalurur – The New Indian Express

Through Express press service

MANGALURU: Some heroes don’t wear a cape and some think “the left hand shouldn’t know what the right is doing”. One such noble soul is 42-year-old Rajani Shetty, who has been on a mission to rescue stray animals and unfortunate birds from hunger and danger for the past 22 years.

For Rajani, a resident of Ballalbagh in Mangaluru, it all started in her hometown of Mumbai, where she noticed a puppy lying in a drain calling for help. “I was disturbed to see the little animal shivering and soaked in dirt. I immediately rescued the pup and for the next 14 years he remained part of my family, says Rajani, who works as a domestic helper and baby sitter.

Kind Soul has so far rescued over 2,000 birds and animals. Married to Damodar Shetty, the couple have two daughters Shwetha and Rithika and a son Prathik.

Every day she cooks 60 kg of rice mixed with chicken waste to feed more than 750 dogs and cats on the streets of Mangaluru. When there is no chicken waste, she cooks rice mixed with milk and eggs. Starting her day at 5:30 a.m., she and one of her daughters get on a two-wheeler and travel around the city to feed the animals. They repeat it between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The family of five lives in a tiled house paying a rent of Rs 9,000 per month. “I earn Rs 12,000 per month and I keep part of it to take care of animals and birds. My house is home to 29 dogs, five of which are paralyzed, 15 cats, one rabbit and five injured eagles,” she said.

When asked what motivates her, she replies, “My goal is to inspire people. I want them to come to the aid of stray animals and birds in distress, whether they are injured or sick. People should not close their eyes to the suffering of animals and birds.

Rajani has risked his life several times to save animals. During the first Covid-induced lockdown of 2020, a video of her descending into a well tying a rope around her waist to save a dog went viral. Recently, she descended into another 42-foot-deep pit and rescued a lactating dog.

“For the past 13 years, I have fed, rescued and cared for animals with my own money. During the confinements, I struggled to feed them. I couldn’t pay the rent for the house for almost five months and had to leave. Along with my family, my animals and birds also became homeless. However, after my dog ​​rescue video went viral, many donors helped me financially. I focus on feeding animals in remote areas where they rarely have anything to eat. I regularly go to the State Bank, Police Station, Hoige Bazar and Bunder locations in Mangaluru to feed the animals,” she says.

The Mangaluru-based NGO Animal Care Trust helps sterilize Rajani’s animals, which are treated at a clinic run by Dr Yashaswi Naravi, a veterinarian in Kulshekar, and at the government veterinary hospital on Jail Road.

Her dream is to build a 24/7 veterinary hospital in Mangaluru exclusively for stray animals and birds. “If humans get hurt or get sick, people rush to help them. These animals and birds also need help. Even in my absence, there should be someone to care for these innocent creatures. A veterinary hospital is needed in Mangaluru,” she says.