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Residents feed strays while organisations await funds
At a time when the city is quiet owing to complete shutdown, the only sounds come from the stray animals and birds roaming the streets. Taking pity on the animals, residents have taken to feeding them in different ways.
Some locals have bought and stocked extra food so that they may cook for the stray animals on the road. They prepare either more quantity of their own meals and feed the animals the excess, or purchase dog food or cat food when available and feed the animals that. Despite issues with stock and long queues, these animal lovers feel that the sacrifice is worth it.
‘‘There are maybe 10 street dogs on my street. I used to feed them daily before the shutdown. I still feed them and bear the strain on my wallet because if not me, who else will? There is also a chance that they might take to poking around the garbage bins, and that's even more dangerous,’’ said Kalyani, a resident of Purasaiwakkam.
For others who cannot afford or do not have the time to buy extra food, they move through the issue in creative ways.
‘‘I feed the strays in this area all the time -- I'll give them some biscuits when I step out for a tea in the evening. But then, the situation changed, and the police weren’t allowing us to feed the animals. Luckily, little tea shops have resumed operations, so I can buy a lot of biscuits and feed them still,’’ said a driver in Shenoy Nagar.
The residents' efforts are the foremost in protecting animals in the city, said the founder of Cloud No 9 kennel and nursing clinic Dinesh Babu. While organisations take time to secure funding and start operations, residents have been taking practical action to help animals since the first day of the shutdown, he said.
‘‘We also help locals who want to do their bit by preparing around 500 kgs of food daily for animals and distributing it to them. The locals can leave the food in a newspaper or on a clean part of the road for the animals in the area. Residents have always had concern for the animals in their surroundings," said Babu.
Don’t abandon pets, stress vets
The news about two pet cats in New York has sent shockwaves among pet owners. However, experts opined that such instances were not common – and never reported so far in dogs – and advised against abandoning pets due to fear of infection.
According to Finton Missier, pet consultant, Thoothukudi, there are vaccines for the prevention of canine coronavirus in dogs. These vaccines are available in India and are already in use. Such viral disease in dogs are in enteric form, meaning that they occur in the intestine, and show symptoms like vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.
As such symptoms are obvious that cannot be missed, pet owners can get immediate veterinary attention to administer drips to such dogs. Though these are contagious diseases among dogs, they could be treated if the animals are brought to veterinarian at the right time, Missier added.
If a pet owner has more than one dog, the other dogs should be segregated and vaccinated. Also, as a precautionary measure, the floor where dogs lie should be kept neat and tidy by using floor cleaner containing hypochlorite solution. Missier added that dogs should be vaccinated to prevent viral diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, coronavirus and rabies.
The mortality rate due to parvoviral disease is high, especially among pups, Missier said. However, if the dogs are vaccinated against these viral diseases, they would not get infected, he added.
D Suresh Christopher, Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry, Madurai, told DT Next that those having tested positive for coronavirus should maintain distance from pets for their safety. They should not abandon the animals at any cost, he added.