It all started one rainy day in 1959 when our founder Captain Sundaram couldn't just walk away from the two pups struggling to stay afloat in the flooded roads of T Nagar. He took them home and that gesture marked the beginning of Blue Cross, the animal shelter in his house which at one stage had 60 cats, dogs, goats, bandicoots and also a pair of baby mongooses!
Captain Sundaram, born on April 22nd, 1916, had always wanted to care for animals. In his own words, "God had given me so much that I thought I ought to do something in return. There are so many charitable institutions for human beings, but so few for animals. "With full-fledged support from his family (his wife Usha and the children built the first few kennels with their own hands), he was soon rescuing and sheltering animals in his T Nagar residence.
The initial people involved were Captain Sundaram: his wife Usha (who was recognised, in 2000, as “the first Indian woman in aerospace” by the National Aeronautics Association); and his three children, Suresh, Chinny Krishna and Vijayalakshmi. Initially, an informal group known as the Animal Aid Association, they were soon joined by Mr. D. Daivasigamony, then Secretary of the Indian Football Association.
Since Captain Sundaram was a pilot with Indian Airlines, the entire work of looking after the rescued animals fell on Usha.
The activities of the group slowly increased and the name of the group was changed to the Blue Cross of India in April 1964. A few months later, the Blue Cross of India was registered under the Societies Registration Act – No. 129 or 1964. The signatories of the Articles and Memorandum of Association were Captain V. Sundaram; Mrs Usha Sundaram; Mr. Suresh Sundaram; Mr. Chinny Krishna; Ms. S. Vijayalakshmi; Mr. D. Daivasigamony; Mrs. Kamakshi Krishnamoorti; Mr. T. V. Chandrasekhar; and Mrs. Sundari Nataraj.
In 1965, Chinny Krishna proposed the mass sterilisation and vaccination of street dogs as an alternate to killing them and named the programme the ABC programme. Endorsed by the WHO, OIE and FAO, this programme is national policy since 2001 and has been widely used around the world.
Today, in 2018, four of the original founders still help guide the work that we do though, at 95, Mrs. Sundari Nataraj helps only when requested. Mr. Chandrasekhar passed away in 2015. Mrs. Usha Sundaram was a regular visitor to the Blue Cross till a few weeks before her death in April 2010.
In 1968, Mr. R. Ratnam was elected the Chairman of the Blue Cross and continued in this post till 1987. His successor was Mr. C. R. Pattabhi Raman who led us till 2000 when Dr. S. Chinny Krishna was elected as the Chairman and continued as Chairman till 2010. When he stepped down, Mr. M. Shantilal Pandya was elected as the Chairman and he continues till today.
The Blue Cross has been fortunate in having a group of professionals who gave freely of their time and efforts on a purely honorary basis, thus ensuring that every rupee received by us went into directly helping animals without any of it being eroded by administrative purposes. Till 1997, only the veterinary doctors and one driver were paid with all other work being done by volunteers.
In November 1997, we moved to our present premises on Velachery Road, Guindy - a plot of land we purchased from the Government of Tamil Nadu. Our other two centres are Kunnam in Kanchipuram District and Toducadu in Tiruvallur District. The Kunnam land was donated by Mr. Sujith Joseph and were set up by us in 1999 and 2000 respectively.
- Registered Office: 1 Eldams Road, Chennai 600 018, India
- Guindy – Hospital, shelters, ambulance services and ABC centre at 72 Velachery Road, Guindy, Chennai 600 032
- Kunnam centre in Kanchipuram District – Hospital, shelters and ABC centre
- Toducadu – ABC centre for Thiruvellore District
- Medical waste disposal
- Mobile Dispensary
- Work with Other NGOs
- Ambulance Services