A Media Executive Adopts 100 Stray Animals In Juhu

A Media Executive Adopts 100 Stray Animals In Juhu

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, February 01, 2024, 12:09 PM IST
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Vandana Mahar, Animal Rights Activist |
Marzin Shroff,consultant, start-up advisor, ex-CEO and MD of Eureka Forbes 

Marzin Shroff,consultant, start-up advisor, ex-CEO and MD of Eureka Forbes  |

Vandana Mahar feeds and looks after the medical needs of 65 dogs and 40 cats, even climbing a wall to care for the strays.

For a lifelong animal lover, Vandana Mahar, (50), it all started on a rainy day in 2017. A media professional and founder of Whitefox Media, and having successfully started Naaptol and Home Shop 18 channels, Vandana has been a full-time mother to over 100 animals around the Juhu Versova Link Road area. 

She set up Built Foundation, which works with 65 dogs and 40 cats on a regular basis; taking care of their needs and medical expenses. Mahar single-handedly managed all aspects of her organisation until a few months ago. “That included climbing an 8 foot wall carrying food to access the open area where dogs live in my locality," she said. 

Mahar recounted that her mother always cared for all beings around them. “My mother instilled these values in me, to stand up for all beings and not just humans. I have always been an animal lover, and have actively worked on advocating for them,” she said. 

Mahar, who has had to face intimidation and even physical violence for her work, blames the attitude of humans towards animals. “People are unnecessarily cruel towards animals, due to their own preconceived notions. They can't even feed a hungry animal, but get annoyed when they bark or follow us,” she said. 

According to Mahar, people’s behaviour with stray animals can only be changed with government policies and an education and awareness initiative. “In most cases, the government officials are the biggest challenge themselves. Their approach is to dispose of the animals, despite several directives from the judiciary,” she said. 

She has actively worked with her neighbourhood to eliminate the fear of stray animals from children and adults alike. “I once told a policeman who was complaining about the dogs running behind his bike to just stop if the dog barks. And he was a changed man after that small tip. We don't even know how to deal with these animals, just because we have been scared beyond our wits in anticipation,” she said. 

She said one approach is to keep fixing the animals, focusing on neutering them and relocating or rehabilitating them, but until humans change their behaviour and mindset towards the animals, real change will not happen. “The poor animals are the friendliest of creatures, if one just gives them a chance," she said.

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