** ARK HAS NOW CLOSED **
All our resident dogs have been re-homed.
Fifty-two dogs and our two ponies have been given a home by Rakesh Shukla of 'Voice of stray dogs' in Bangalore. Twenty-nine have been re-homed in Europe.
The following post was puplished on Facebook, and I think really sums things up. Thank you.
THE LEGACY OF AVIS LYONS
Yesterday when I reached the farm I almost screamed seeing a strange vehicle parked there. Then I realised it was an ARK vehicle! When Avis left, she left all the medical stuff and some other stuff for us. I'd sent a team of guys from here to fetch it.
I've written about Avis and her dogs many times before. There are many an album from when I started taking her dogs. When I found a couple of years ago where she was with her health and the state of affairs ARK had been put in, I decided to take her dogs. The only honorable thing that anyone in India could do was let her leave with some grace. My promise was I will take all your dogs so you can leave. Yesterday she left - but there was no grace in what we've done to her. No quarter had been given to her.
I do not wish to go into her disappointments of which there are many and of which for many years she could not talk for the threat she carried on her, on ARK and her dogs. But I know because I have suffered much the same fate. The irony is that it does now come in the hands of the system, the administration and the police. It originates in the sheer jealousy, greed & cowardliness of the 'animal welfare' community of the NGOs who're so busy wanting to see their names in papers, and collecting money - they forget there are others who do real work.
My first personal introduction to Avis was not Avis but Odette, her daughter. And I'd gulped that she had driven 24 hrs in a truck with her dogs. One of about 4-5 trips she'd make in the same trucks bringing her mama's dogs to me. The thing I respect, much more than the thing people loosely called 'love', is doing what is right. And here she was, with her friends and husband repeatedly coming back to move the dogs to me, and to fly out what she could because it was the right thing to do.
I had said this to Odette and Avis a few weeks back - the only person I know who's suffered more than me for their love for dogs is Avis. The 2 ladies graciously differed. Unlike my farm, Avis's home was not this rustic place - it was very well finished and tastefully done. The irony of tearing down your kennels because you're leaving everything behind and kennel doors can be used by VOSD is not missed on me. I can't even begin to imagine what it must have felt like to stand there and see part of you being torn down. Except I can, maybe.
For years, Avis pleaded and went from pillar to post trying to find an organization that would run ARK. Very old, and in failing health - the only people she found were not interested in the dogs or her 12 years legacy of work but her land. That's what most of the 'organised animal welfare' is about - money and glory.
For all the Kerala killing / Down with Kerala folks - she's been reporting that for years. Fighting court cases. Making petitions. And VOSD has been reporting it for years for her. But that chapter has ended too. For all that I do, I've not a light to shine to a woman who comes to India on a vacation, sells her house back home and invests all her money to help the dogs that she loved. ALL of them now poisoned and killed. Except the 52 dogs and 2 horses I have, and those that went to Europe.
Her legacy will live on, if not in Kerala, the way she wanted but in Bangalore. The equipment that helped dogs there will help more dogs in Bangalore. She will come back to India, of course. Not to God's Own Country, but to a quite place in Bangalore where she can be with the dogs that she gave life to.
So long Avis.
*** Due to health problems, lack of co-operation with the local authorites Avis has taken the heart breaking decision to close ARK.
Below is the old website page for your information
ARK is an independent Indian registered charity, with strong links through our founder Avis Lyons, to the UK. We are based in a modern, clean, purpose built facility on the outskirts of the popular tourist resort of Kovalam in Kerala. Our work is wide-ranging and focused entirely on caring for the animal population of Kerala in whatever way we can. This can be direct intervention to administer badly needed medical treatment, it may also mean providing a home for sick animals on a permanent or temporary basis. Ultimately, we try and rehome as many animals as we can once we have treated their ailments. We also understand that to make real progress with animal issues in India there is a huge need to change the future. We run educational and lobbying programmes to try and make sure Kerala keeps moving forward in it's attitude, it's laws and it's enforcement of the law in relation to animal welfare. We follow the World Health Organization guidelines by implementing the ABC /AR (animal birth control/anti-rabies vaccination) programme. This will help to eradicate rabies in the future and humanely control the stray dog population. Our work is not easy, it is not cheap, it can be heart-breaking and sometimes it seems like it's never ending, but we love what we do, we are passionate about animals and we believe that by promoting better treatment and care for animals here, that along with the work of many other organisations, we are helping to drive India towards making a society which is simply more fulfilling for everyone, human or otherwise.