Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust (HART) was founded in 2010 and under the slogan “No Babies, No Rabies”, HART has been conducting neutering and vaccination programmes to stabilise the ever growing dog population, to eradicate rabies as well as to improve animal welfare.
HART aims to help animals within their own communities and does not operate as a sanctuary or shelter. It has two bases, one in Pokhara and the other in Bharatpur, where clinical and operating facilities are available together with kennels for cases that require veterinary nursing.
Annual mass anti rabies dog vaccination programmes have been carried out in Pokhara and Bharatpur following WHO guidelines together with systematic neutering programmes. This work has created stable, healthy and safe populations of dogs in these cities.
A number of apps have been designed to assist with accurate recording of vaccination data together with a public information website, Dog Data. The site www.dogdata.uk gives information on anti rabies vaccination work throughout Nepal as well as dog census information. The apps are available to any groups who would like to record their own work.
HART carries out a number of outreach neutering programmes annually. Many of these are in response to requests from DLSOs and Municipalities who are working to humanely control their dog populations. Whenever possible the outreach programmes are repeated annually to ensure their effectiveness. HART’s emphasis is on sustainability.
Over the years a number of initiatives have been carried out with the Agriculture and Forestry University to offer enhanced training opportunities to vet students.
Collaborative work is also carried out with other animal welfare NGOs in Nepal. Pooling of resources and expertise can achieve rapid results in areas like temple grounds where many animals congregate and there is much suffering.
HART runs a schools programme in Pokhara to inform young people of the kindest and safest ways to interact with animals.
As Nepal is urbanising, some of the desired change in attitudes to animals is taking place without the assistance of groups such as HART. HART’s efforts can reinforce and build on this positive shift.
Links have been established with international researchers and academics who are interested in Nepal’s animals and their welfare. HART’s director has presented at a number of conferences on this theme with the most recent being the AfA conference in Kathmandu last December.