Cherry, a bitch from a village near Agra, was everybody’s favourite pick-me-up for a quick round of cuddles and a gush of playful energy. But on a fateful day, she strayed too close to the village drunk. He beat her up and gouged out both her eyes..
Hero, another chirpy doggy, was caught in the crossfire between two warring factions. A bullet penetrated his leg, leaving him writhing in pain and permanently short of one good leg
Shiva, a baby monkey, was not even an hour old when his mother died giving birth to him. Absolutely petrified, he was attached to her dead body with the umbilical cord lying on the road
The “help” in all the above instances, is Mrs. Surat Gupta, who opened People For Animals Agra to give a new lease of life to stray animals.
How it all started - Takes Two
PFA Agra was started by Mrs. Surat Prasad and her family. Surat was born in Mumbai in 1950. She holds a Master's as well as a doctorate in English Literature from Agra’s Women Training College (WTC) and Dayalbagh University respectively. She has been teaching at Prem Vidyalaya Agra in an honorary capacity for more than 30 years. But, even as the course and direction of action eluded her, a vague desire to give back to society as a way of saying thank you had stayed in the recesses of her mind. Life intruded, and life’s routine blanketed her social entrepreneurship. “But, my daughter Richa, my inspiration, my muse, awoke in me that notion lying unattended to for years. From her childhood, she felt strongly about animal welfare,” explains Surat. Richa’s long term illness had made her more sensitive to the plight of the less fortunate. She always gravitated towards the hurt squirrel, birds, pups and finally graduated to larger animals, encompassing all in her fold. Their ‘Eureka!’ moment, though, was when she saw a bull in the middle of the road in a pool of blood. “Something had to be done. Leaving it to its plight was not an option. Thus the seed got its way and our direction was set,” she says. Richa wrote to Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, a leading animal rights activist, and immediately received a reply from her. Surat and her family registered PFA Agra as an animal welfare charitable Trust. And just like that, People For Animals Agra wing was up and running. Mrs. Gandhi sent them a list of members already in Agra.
In the beginning, it was all family-run. They erected a temporary shed in the free space in front of their house. And the Guptas were paying for all the expenses from their own pockets. People would drop in an animal for treatment. Therefore, treatment became their prime thrust area. The treatment of animals began by hiring a paravet and in consultation with a veterinary doctor. “We then realised that we needed a place to house the patients. The bara outside our house was now getting more animals and the space was at a premium,” Surat recalls. In 2001, they received two acres of land on lease from Nagar Nigam Agra, and with government grants, they were able to construct a hospital-cum-shelter for the strays of Agra. However, the grant was given ONLY for construction of the hospital cum shelter. “We are totally dependent on donations and have a hand-to-mouth existence. So, collecting donations to maintain the infrastructure has been our biggest source of tension, and it still is,” Surat shares. They created separate wards to house the various animals coming their way and ICUs for very sick patients and patients with infectious diseases. Their model soon encompassed running an animal rescue helpline which runs from 8AM till 6PM, ABC (Animal Birth Control) operations, and giving shelter to disabled animals or old and abandoned dogs and cattle. They also encourage people to adopt street dogs. They have an MoU with the Nagar Nigam of Agra to conduct their ABC programmes. To date, they have conducted more than 3,000 operations in their OT at the shelter.
Lobbying for a cause that never was
In the beginning, they put up stalls at Taj Mahotsav to create awareness. “We were always confronted with the smallness of thought – Why animals? So many humans are suffering. To change the mindset of the people of Agra has not been easy,” she says.
Funds have been a constant bane in running this organisation, as mentioned. They are fundraising through social media, fundraisers and still putting a good amount from their own pockets. Indians, she says, are notoriously stingy, mainly because of trust issues. “We try and maintain transparency in our dealings and that is our biggest asset,” Surat concludes.
The journey continues…
Day in and day out, the Rescue Helpline gets calls related to suffering animals. Surat and family are neither doing this because it is a noble cause and nor it is their profession. They do it because NOT doing anything was not an option. Every life counts and they try their best to give that life the best possible chance to survive and thrive.
Because their scope of work has increased a lot, they can’t do it alone and need compassionate people like you who think like them. If you think that this life-saving work should go on, then please do join hands with them and help them save many more lives.
Our Introduction and Our Work
People For Animals Agra (in short PFA Agra) is a charitable trust, an NGO and a not for profit organisation. The trust was established by Ms.Richa Gupta. The current president of PFA Agra is Mrs. Surat Prasad Gupta.
PFA Agra in its mission to help the stray animals of the city of Agra, has been involved with various facets of animal welfare like running a rescue helpline, conducting ABC (Animal Birth Control) and giving shelter to sick, injured or abandoned strays
PFA Agra has been working earnestly for the last decade to help stray animals in Agra and create awareness towards their plight. Undoubtedly we have been successful in improving the condition of the animals in the city of Agra while helping create a climate of more peaceful co-existence between them and humans. On the front of fund raising, we have been able to generate some funds over the years. However, we have not yet reached a stage of complete self-sustenance. To help us increase the scope of our activities we need funding from like-minded donors who believe in our vision and understand the work that we do. We hope that this website will help you to understand the work that our organisation is doing and why it is important. We sincerely hope that you will consider our organisation worthy enough for your donation.