A little into the 21-day lockdown and it was clear that stray animals and birds will find it difficult to feed themselves during this period. Restaurants, roadside eateries and food given out by animal welfare workers were the prime source of food for stray dogs and birds. With people unable to move around as usual and all forms of eateries shut down, stray animals were at risk of being starved. There are a lot of misconceptions doing the rounds with regards to transmission of COVID -19 in pets and strays and HSI – Humane Society International has put forth guidelines and answers to these questions.
Can people get Covid-19 from their pets or other strays?
According to HSI,there has been little evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted from pets to humans. There is also very little evidence that dogs and cats can contract this virus. However if you contract the virus you should be taking the same precautions you would be taking around your house members. Pets like any surface carry germs on their fur if touched by an infected person. Bathing and regular shampoo usage will prevent this.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has clarified that dogs and cats are not involved in spreading infection in the current episode of coronavirus infection.
It is important to dispel myths and lend a hand to all the animals in need during the Lockdown. Organizations such as the Humane Society International India (HSI) are working towards spreading awareness regarding the topic. Animal Welfare Worker and Humane Society International’s outreach coordinator Sally Varma and her team is doing commendable job in taking care of the animals.
Kerala Government stepping in
The lockdown made it almost impossible for the regular feeders and animal volunteers to step out and engage in their work. However here is when the Government stepped in issuing feeder passes to all local feeders so that they continue their job without much police intervention. The Chief Minister during an announcement mentioned about taking care of the strays and called in for all to feed the animals in your vicinity including birds and monkeys. Police officers on patrol have also made it point distribute food and water to these strays, helping out in every way they can. Heart warming images of police personals sharing their food gives us hope and conviction in humanity.
Big Hearts of Kerala
Many local bodies and volunteer associations feed the stray animals; people cook food at home and deliver it to the animals while some donate to Welfare organizations. Animal Welfare Associations as well as local government bodies also arrange feed for cattle and other animals. There are also people who contribute food to Pet stores. Social media is flooded with images of people carrying food in their vehicles to meet those voiceless who gleam with joy upon their arrival. People who are not able to step out or cook are doing their part by sharing posts on social media, coordinating over whatsapp groups and by contributing leftover food at home to organisations or animal feeders.
The times are disheartening; the news is always flooding with painful and scary stories. During these times it is heartwarming and inspiring to see the many devoted welfare workers and several other people helping the stray animals survive. It accentuates the goodness in people’s hearts.
As said by Mahatma Gandhi ; “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated“. It is true and Kerala has proved once again that it is indeed “Gods Own Country”.