Coronavirus outbreak: Thirty pets abandoned in just two days, say animal activists

Updated: Mar 19, 2020, 07:46 IST | Shirish Vaktania, Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

Misleading banners and posters by civic authorities spark panic in Mumbai and its nearby cities; BMC rapped by PETA

An abandoned Labrador found in Juhu
An abandoned Labrador found in Juhu

A week after banners and posters warning people to keep their distance from animals amid Coronavirus turned up in Mumbai and its nearby cities, nearly 30 pets were abandoned, animal activists have claimed.

Animals lovers reported a higher number of abandoned dogs and cats in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai and accused authorities of misguiding people. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is no evidence to suggest that pets can spread the virus.

Mitesh Jain, Honorary District Animal Welfare Officer of the Animal Welfare Board of India asked BMC to remove all posters and banners immediately.

An abandoned Japanese Spitz (popularly known as Pomeranian) found in Goregaon East
An abandoned Japanese Spitz (popularly known as Pomeranian) found in Goregaon East

"Suresh Sukla, a Kamothe resident, was asked by his society to abandon his dog. Civic authorities have spread panic," Jain said.

"We have received 30 complaints about abandoned dogs in the past two days from Juhu, Kandivli, Borivli, and Thane," animal lover Vijay Rangare from Navi Mumbai said.

Beena Pillai, Vasai resident, said, "Due to the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation's message, my society's watchman refused to allow me in with my pet. My maid too refused to come. I had to explain to her that that is not how Coronavirus spreads."

Dr Kailas Shinde, district collector, Palghar, said that he has no knowledge about the posters.

On the other hand, BMC's public relations officer Vijay Khabale, said, "We have removed the banners after receiving a complaint from PETA. If found anywhere, citizens may inform BMC. They will be removed. They are spreading a wrong message. Our advertising department will remove them."

Juhu resident Fardin Khan found an abandoned Labrador four days ago and took him home. "BMC's message is wrong. One of my friends has adopted the dog," he said.

"On Tuesday night, I found am abandoned female Japanese Spitz (popularly known as Pomeranian) near Hub Mall in Goregaon. I have kept her at my friend's place and am trying to locate the owner," said Rakesh Gupta.

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