Coronavirus Pandemic

India: Pandemic leaves several pets abandoned

Web report/Bhopal
Filed on May 22, 2021

Families unable to sustain crisis are finding it easier to abandon pets than seek rehabilitation centres for them.

The ongoing Covid crisis is having a terrible impact even on the lives of pet dogs in cities across India. In Bhopal, many are being abandoned by families unable to sustain the crisis.

St Bernard’s, Huskies, German Shepherds, Pomeranians and other top breeds are being abandoned on the outskirts of the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, according to reports.

“Instead of looking for a suitable rehabilitation option, people find it easier to abandon their pets,” said animal activist Ishita Khemaria. Many pet owners feel they might not be able to handle the responsibilities and choose to abandon the creatures.

Neeti Khare, another animal activist in Bhopal said that the second Covid wave impacted the finances of many people. “Families feel that a sick pet will add to their trouble and choose to abandon them, which is very heart-breaking,” said Khare. “Abandoning your pet is not only inhumane, but also an offence.”

Besides Bhopal, other cities in India are also experiencing this crisis. With some of the senior citizens succumbing to Covid, there is no one to look after the pet dogs that they left behind.

Harshad Gaikwad, a volunteer in Pune, said that an old couple died due to Covid, leaving behind their four-year-old Golden Retriever. “I have come across three such cases in the last two months where there is no one left in the family to raise the dog,” he added.

In Bangalore, Achala Pani, founder of Let’s Live Together, an animal welfare outfit, said a five-year-old dog, Buddy, was found tied to a chain after the 87-year-old person, who was looking after it, succumbed to Covid.

“It took us a couple of hours to cajole Buddy and earn his trust,” said Pani.

“He was traumatised, scared and we did not know if he had food.”

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