Please carry printouts of the PM’s advisory to the States about street animal welfare, and the letter from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Upamanyu Basu, to show the authorities if they stop you from feeding.
Please also keep an eye out for animals that may be suffering inside closed pet shops and inform the authorities immediately.
The Narendra Modi government has told all states to ensure that medical help for animals is treated as an essential service, which does not get suspended during COVID-19 lockdowns across the country.
While several states announced lockdowns Sunday in a bid to arrest the spread of the deadly disease in India, they did not include veterinary services in the list of essential services that would be exempt under it.
In a letter addressed to all chief secretaries dated 23rd March, the Centre said, “It is requested that veterinary hospitals and dispensaries in the state, including private veterinary clinics, veterinary pathologies, animal shelters etc. function in the normal course and the veterinary services be considered in the list of ‘Essential Services’.”
The letter, written by the joint secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Upamanyu Basu said, “It is necessary to ensure continuous emergency services in the animal husbandry and veterinary sector, especially in emergent animal health issues situations.
“These May include but are not restricted to, emergency services like disease diagnosis and treatment, monitoring of any emergency livestock and poultry diseases, immediate disease reporting, etc.”
However, the government has urged veterinarians and other related officials to ensure strict personal hygiene and avoid public gatherings.
‘Animals and birds should not suffer during lockdown’
On the same day, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) wrote another letter to all states emphasising that all law enforcement agencies ensure that animals and birds do not suffer due to hunger during the lockdown due to COVID-19.
Please carry printouts of the PM’s advisory to the States about street animal welfare, and the letter from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Upamanyu Basu, to show the authorities if they stop you from feeding. Please also keep an eye out for animals that may be suffering inside closed pet shops and inform the authorities immediately.
“This is a valuable service consistently provided by compassionate individuals and the absence of it may cause a large number of animals and birds to suffer and die and carcasses of the dead animals and birds may further spread different diseases amongst community which will be difficult to control,” Dr O.P. Chaudhary, Director of the AWBI has written.
Meanwhile Delhi Government has issued the following order as well.
“The situation is quite alarming,” BJP MP Maneka Gandhi said. “In some places, food is being stopped…No animal grains and chara is being allowed to come to Haryana from UP. Even pedigree from Hyderabad is being stopped by Mumbai,” she said.
“Animals and birds cannot be allowed to starve in the country in this manner.”
Senior BJP Leader and Member of Parliament, Maneka Gandhi on Saturday said that “The coronavirus is not transmitted through live animals.” Please scroll below to watch a news clipping, on this subject.
She has also issued a letter on her letterhead earlier today on 23rd March 2020, which is shared below-
All Animal care takers and Feeders can keep this letter by Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, Honourable Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha, Government of India) handy in case they are stopped by authorities while feeding community animals.
Share this letter with your RWA’s and nearest Police Station.
Please take a print out of this letter, if possible or save it on your phone, and keep it handy when you are stepping out for an animal rescue or to feed them.
A humble request to all, be kind towards animals:
Please make two extra Chapatis/Rotis daily in your home for street dogs/Cows and other stray animals who will have no means of feeding themselves since all the Restaurants/Dhabas/Food Carts are closed now due to coronavirus lockdown.
Most of the stray animals survive on leftover food provided by Hotel/Dhaba staff. These animals will starve to death in case of a prolonged lockdown. You can handover these breads to your society/ Apartment staff to be kept outside for animals. Spread the message to all the people in your circle.
Let’s all give it a try, and share this message so more and more people can do the good deed of feeding streer animals in these trying times.
Mrs. Maneka Gandhi addresses the Media to bust myths.
While addressing the press, Maneka Gandhi said, “It has brought in the notice that the government department and several insurance agencies are creating a false panic in the coronavirus through issuing false advisories.”
She said, “These agencies are taking out the advisories on the Coronavirus, which are not confirmed by the health department by saying that nobody should go to live animals.”
“This is completely false and misleading… As the health department of India has said that the animal does not have coronavirus and cannot transmit the virus,” she said.
Adding to the statement, Maneka said, “I would advise the Ministry of Electronics, Insurance companies, and the ministry of railways not to run fake ads on this.”
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory body under the Government of India, has written to the chief secretaries of all State governments and Union Territories to ensure the well-being of pet animals amid the Corona virus threat.
In a circular, AWBI Chairman Mr. O. P Chaudhary said that, “It was brought to the notice of the Board that the animal owners are depriving their pets of proper food, water or shelter due to the increasing threat of the virus.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has clarified that dogs and cats are not involved in spreading infection in the current episode of coronavirus infection. “The Board has already issued an advisory to the State government sand UTs to see that the stray animals are taken care of by the local bodies as it their responsibility,” Chaudhary said.
Hence, the AWBI chief has requested the governments to create awareness about animal welfare and advise them against abandoning their pets.
Even fimstars, like Arjun Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna, Kriti Sanon, Mini Mathur and many more kind hearts, are urging their fans and followers on their Instagram feeds to continue feeding street animals, more so now, when eateries, their primary source of scavenging for food, are shut.
These street/community dogs are much more than mere ‘dogs’..hear us speak more in the first-half of this Radio Interview I had with students from School of Journalism students at University of Queensland, Australia, who came to India on a Study Tour few weeks back.
The second half of this Radio Interview talks about the alarming issue of Pet abandonment!
This article is from us, we are the ones who are either living on the roads or in an Animal Shelter. We are those canine babies, who have been abandoned by one of you. You have taken advantage of us being ‘voiceless’. If we were able to speak, we could define or explain our pain. There are so many of us, but here is me. Hello my name is Nandini, this name was given to me by the staff at the Animal Shelter. I am going to tell my story, which is not a story but the bitter reality of my life.
My owner brought me to his house when I was just one month old. I used to feed on my mother’s milk, I should have been left with my mom till the time I was 45-50 days old, but this owner of mine was in a hurry to take me to his house, so he gave money to the breeder and bought me for Rs. 5000.
Now I was in his home, I used to cry because I missed my mom’s love, care and warmth but, they thought that I was hungry and offered me packed milk. I took that because I was hungry, but my body didn’t accept it and I became sick. The vet advised them to give me formulated powdered milk for small babies, they didn’t.
By now, I had forgotten the taste of my mother’s milk and had unconditionally accepted all of them as my family. My owner’s 7 years old son used to play with me a lot. As I was very young, I used to sleep most of the time, he used to come and wake me up to play, but I never got angry with him, because he was my friend and I was committed to live with them till my last breath.
His son and I, both were growing-up. I loved them as much as I can. When they used to go out for work or for roaming around, I waited for them at home. When they used to come back, I always pleased them, hugged them, and kissed them as if we are meeting after a long time. But slowly and slowly I realized as I turned 3 years old that the entire family had started losing interest in me. They rarely came to play with me and the duty of feeding me and taking me for my walks was also given to the servant. Most of the time the servant forgot to feed me or gave me the wrong diet, at the wrong time, but none at home cared. I still never complained and gave my loyal, pure love to all. But, I missed playing with them, walking with them, their touch of love, had I lost my charm in their eyes, I wondered!
Due to lack of proper care and good diets and walks, I became sick and developed skin eczema. I started losing my hair, but then, instead of taking the vet’s advice or taking me to a vet’s clinic, they started ignoring me all the more and then, they all decided to leave me in a shelter. I overheard them saying that, “she will get everything that she needs, i.e. food, medicine, shelter etc. over there, i.e. in the Animal Shelter. For these people, the definition of everything is different; I am a living being and a social one at that, along with food and medicines, I also need love, care, a family and a home where I could feel safe.
I wondered what my fault was. I never made them suffer or leave them alone when they were suffering, feeling bad or when they were feeling lonely…I used to sit with them, hear them out and did all I could to make them comfortable and make them smile all over again. But now, when I needed their love and some medical care, they dumped me!
The day I reached the Animal Shelter, I overheard the screams and cries of other dogs, many were weeping…I became scared, but with my family around me, I was confident that nothing bad will happen to me, may be they had got me here to get my skin infection treated and we will leave from there in a short while and go back home.
But that was not to be. I soon realized much to my distress that they were leaving me behind here. They handed my leash to one of the staffers at the Shelter, gave them some money and started walking away. I was confused, I was scared…I started barking, jumping and calling out to them, so that they would hear me, come back and take me with them. I was confused as to how can they forget me here…My family, my world was moving away from me, it was the end of everything for me. They started the car and went away…I was left behind ALONE, ABANDONED, CRYING…me the voiceless became even more voiceless. My tears couldn’t stop, my heart pained with sorrow. But there was no one who could understand my grief.
For that day, I was kept in a small cage, because the other dogs in the shelter were not ready to accept me and be friends with me so soon. The staff at the shelter offered me food but I didn’t take that. That night I spent with tear in my eyes and fear in my heart. The whole night I cried and was praying that somehow I will meet my owners again. The eczema problem was not in my hand, so why did they punish me for it, I continued to wonder. That night finished, the next morning I woke up and I was continuously staring at the door of the shelter that my owner will realize his fault, will miss me too and will come back to take me back to home. The day passed by waiting for my owner. Whenever I listened to a car horn, I raised my ears to listen to their voice but they didn’t come. That day I also didn’t take food, I was crying. Suddenly, I noticed the presence of other dogs around me; they told me that they all have stories similar to mine. Some were left behind because their owners had their jobs transferred to other cities, some were dumped because they had tumours or other health issues, some were thrown away here because they had behavioral problems (which could have been worked upon and corrected for good), some were left because the owner’s wife was now pregnant and some were even left here, because they didn’t grow up looking the way their owner expected them to…and a million more senseless reasons one could think of. We all shared our pain with each other and they made me realize that I am losing my health by staying hungry and waiting for such heartless people. I was so sad and depressed, but then, suddenly I heard something… a shelter member called me Nandini and also said to me, “Baby I do not know your real name but will love to call you Nandini”. I started adjusting myself over there, I got food twice a day but I hardly got a friend to play, after all, the staff at the shelter to look after other injured and accident hit dogs who make their way to the Hospital every day…though they all try their best, they cannot spare time to give individual attention and care to ‘abandoned and dumped’ dogs like me. The Vet at the Hospital checked on me, my medication for Eczema started and within a couple of weeks I got all my hair back but I did not get my owner back. I guess, they were not even bothered to check, whether I was dead or alive. On the weekend, some volunteers used to come from outside to feed us, spend some time with us but not to adopt us and take us home with them. I am not blaming anyone but I do want to ask you all, why do you keep us dogs as your pets, if you cannot commit yourself to look after us well for the short lives we have? Do you consider us as ‘objects’ that can be dumped in the bin, when you no longer need it? If you just wanted to pass time with a cuddly, furry creature, you could have best invested your money in buying yourself or your kid a stuff toy….next time, please buy toys and not us to pass your time with, you are no one to decide on our fate. We also want a family that is willing to make a lifelong commitment to look after us in our good and bad days.
I, Nandini………….. I survived in that shelter every day, with that pain of being abandoned, being ‘unwanted’ by those whom I loved. I was living with a hope that may be, someone amongst you will come forward to adopt me, love me, and give me a home and family of my own once again…but that never happened. Usually, we dogs can live for 12 to 14 years if we get love and care, but I died at the age of 4 years…I couldn’t live at the shelter beyond a few months, the pain was too much to bear…Yes, I am dead…I waited and waited, but did not get the love I yearned for.
I am no more but I wish after reading this article my other friends will be adopted from shelter.
Adopt us and never ever abandon.
Adopt, don’t buy, there are too many homeless animals like me around.
An Adoption Appeal for ‘Tiger’:
Now, if any one of you reading this has a heart to adopt this Golden coloured 5-6 year old healthy Male Labrador, who was recently dumped for no fault of his by his owner, please let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Authors*: This article was written by Nikhil & Jyoti; and first published in the 2nd Annual Issue of the Canis Welfare Pet Club’s souvenir Magazine