A lockdown period has been announced, and we’ve done our bit to prepare- flocked to provision shops to buy all the essentials we need, food, cooking supplies, toiletry, food for our own pets, etc. etc. But in all this, have we forgotten about our strays that roam the streets every day? About the pets waiting to be adopted? What will become of them?
Despite several announcements and declarations by recognized organizations (World Organization for Animal Health, PeTA and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) regarding the lack of evidence to suggest that animals can spread the deadly COVID-19, many pet owners and societies have started to panic and have been found to abandon their pets, neglect the strays or worse.
So, how can we help the starving strays?
Just like us humans need food to survive, so do our animal friends. With animal food being in short supply, add to that the banishing of the animals as a result of a rumour suggesting that they are carriers of coronavirus, these creatures are left to fend for themselves. With restaurants, roadside eateries and markets that provided them with easy access to food being shut down, stray animals such as, dogs, cats, cattle and birds have been left with nothing to go on. The weaker ones, however, may not survive the lockdown.
Once again, there are no studies or evidence to suggest that animals can transmit the virus to us. In truth, there are more chances of us transferring it to them. Thus, any responsible feeder will take the necessary precautions before and after feeding a stray animal.
Better safe than sorry
When feeding stray animals make sure you wear a clean mask. Carry a sanitizer and newspaper with you. Use the sanitizer, before and after feeding them. If you want to take extra precaution, use disposable gloves if available.
Feed them at a place and a time when there are fewer people around. Late evenings are usually the best time. Secluded corners are the safest – far from public places and less likely to attract passersby, even if there’s no threat of the virus.
Remember nothing is more important than cleanliness, hence, we suggest laying a newspaper down before giving them food. Once they’re done, fold the paper and throw it in a dustbin.
Keeping food handy
When running essential errands, keep some biscuits or dry dog treats with you. Whenever you see an animal in need, be generous and feed them. But remember, sanitize your hands before and after the feeding. It is best to avoid giving dogs Parle G biscuits because of the amount of sugar in them. However, for dogs that haven’t eaten in a while, the sugar will be beneficial as it will give them the required energy to find their next food source.
For their safety
Since little is known about the coronavirus, it is advisable to avoid contact with the animals while feeding, in order to steer clear of spreading the virus. Offer food on a newspaper or sprinkle some on the floor; don’t let them take it directly from your hands. Refrain from patting or touching them for their own safety.
Feeding our flying visitors
The lockdown has affected the birds too. As a responsible feeder, you can leave out a homemade bird feeder with some water and grains for them in your balconies or gardens.
In drawing things to a close, we urge everyone to feed at least one stray every day; this will save them from starving. In times like these we need to spread kindness to all species, big or small, man or animal. Let’s spread some love and not the disease.