Diwali disturbs man's best friend

As Diwali celebrations wind down, pet owners pay a heavy price, with dogs going missing, cats treated for deep burn injuries, and birds in such shock that they are unable to fly

While most revellers in Mumbai, brought in Diwali with the crackle of firecrackers, pets and birds had a torrid time, with Mumbai's largest animal hospital recording a large number of them arriving for medical attention. Some pet owners claim that the noise have led to their pets to go missing.

Frisky has gone missing from Chetna Pendkar's home

At the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hospital (BSPCA), over 30 birds, many of them sparrows and owls, were brought in for medical treatment since they were reeling under shock, or suffering from respiratory problems. Four cats and three canines with deep burn injuries had to be treated, say vets. According to officials at the hospital, the number of animals arriving will only rise, as experience has taught them.

Dr JC Khanna, Secretary, BSPCA, said, "The number of hurt animals are fewer than last year. But we expect more admissions in the coming days. This year we have also received numerous complaints about pet dogs running away from their homes because they were disturbed by the noise of crackers."

One such case is that of Frisky, who has gone missing from cardiac surgeon Dr Ravi Pendkar's Shivaji Park home. Much loved by his daughter Chetna Pendkar, the dog was taking a stroll along with Dr Pendkar outside his home on Wednesday, when, scared by firecrackers, it ran away. Despite conducting a search in the locality, the dog could not be found. Dr Pendkar has filed a complaint with the Shivaji Nagar police station.

Dr Pendkar says, "We have put up posters of Frisky across our locality and informed local veterinarians. Frisky was nervous the entire day because of noise from firecrackers."

Animal Welfare Officer Kusum Ruparel, who has so far rescued five birds, says, "Their (birds and animals) hearing capacity is more acute than that of humans. And so, the bursting of crackers leaves them in shock. Some of them even develop the fear of flying."

Ruparel said a few dogs from her locality had gone missing on Wednesday, and are yet to be found. "Troubled by the ruckus of crackers, dogs try to find a quiet place. They often lose their way back home and end up injuring themselves."

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