About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veerappan's pet

Incredible as it seems, we all have one thing in common with the notorious smuggler and poacher Veerappan: he appears to have recognized the value of the Indian Pariah Dog. He and his gang owned three dogs, who according to news reports were used to sniff out sandalwood trees. Of course I don’t know any details about the case, but since one doesn’t really need dogs to detect this strongly scented wood, it is possible that they were also used as watchdogs and perhaps for hunting.

Not surprisingly, having such owners led to tragic consequences for the dogs. Only one, Ittappa, eventually survived to live a happy-ever-after life, thanks to CUPA - the Bangalore-based organization which rescued him.

I am posting a tribute to Ittappa, written for us by Sanober Bharucha, Hon. Secretary, CUPA. On behalf of the Indian Pariah Dog Club, I’d like to thank Ms Bharucha for the tribute and for these photos of Ittappa before and after his rescue and recovery.

A tribute to Ittappa

Ittappa, along with two other dogs, belonged to a gang of sandalwood smugglers in Kerala, South India. In August 1998, his masters were caught by the police and taken into custody. Ittappa and his two friends were taken as 'articles' for the case against the smugglers. The dogs were forgotten in a dark, dank, damp corner of the Government Veterinary Hospital at Kasargod, Kerala for three long years. His companions succumbed to the misery but Ittappa struggled on and survived.

As fate would have it, journalists Mr. Janardhan and Mr. N. Chambithimar of a local paper,
"Karmaveera,” reported Ittappa's plight. CUPA - Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, an animal welfare organization in Bangalore, sent animal welfare officer Mr. Sanjay P. and Mr. Murthy to Kasargod. After much red tape and bureaucratic procedures, the dog was given into the custody of CUPA .

With care and love at CUPA, Ittappa changed from a skin-diseased, malnourished dog into a handsome, smart character endowed with a wonderful personality. One of the permanent residents at the CUPA Centre, he was dearly loved by all. Eight years later, on 10th November 2006, he suffered from a respiratory collapse and died. He is deeply mourned and missed. In spite of being a victim of human callousness and cruelty, he was the living symbol of a rare endurance, great courage and a shining, loving presence.

His story has been carried by the national and international media.

Sanober Z. Bharucha

Hon. Secretary, CUPA

website: http://www.cupabangalore.org/


Aditya said...

Thats a very sad life for any dog, but I'm so happy it had a nice ending! This story reminds me of one by Jim Corbett, in his book 'My India'. There he writes about the dog of one of India's most wanted and er, famous, dacoits, Sultana's dog, a Pariah and terrier cross, who was adopted by one of the British police officers who aided in nabbing Sultana. Elsewhere in the book, and if I recollect correctly in the very same story, Corbett calls the Pariah "the best watchdog in the world"!

Rajashree Khalap said...

Thanks! I must look up that quotation and use it in the Watchdog database!

Aditya said...

:) You must! I'll give it to you...