COVID-19: Give us PPEs, we'll save pets, say animal activists

Updated: Apr 25, 2020, 07:16 IST | Shirish Vaktania | Mumbai

With scores of pets abandoned - including of those who have tested positive or are in quarantine - activists seek help from authorities

A turtle, two rabbits rescued from their owner’s house in Mira Road. Pics/Rajesh Gupta
A turtle, two rabbits rescued from their owner’s house in Mira Road. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

As COVID-19 patients are being sent to quarantine, their pets who are left behind are forced to face tough times. Animal lovers say that they have rescued birds, dogs and turtles left behind by their families in the past few weeks.

Recently, an animal lover tracked down and rescued a Japanese Spitz (commonly called a Pomeranian) who was left behind after his six months pregnant owner residing in Kamothe, Navi Mumbai, contracted Coronavirus. The entire family was shifted to an isolation centre for 14 days but the dog was stuck at home.

Vijay Rangare, who was told about the dog by neighbours, reached out to the local police and civic body and arranged for the dog to get checked and sent to a shelter.

Rangare, who works for a private firm, said, "I received a call from residents from the area that a Pomeranian dog is stuck at home with his owners quarantined. I rushed to the place but the building was sealed. No one was allowed to enter the society. I asked Kamothe police and the municipal corporation to help me rescue it."

A dog rescued from inside his owners house in Kamothe
A dog rescued from inside his owner's house in Kamothe

"In the presence of the police, we opened the door of the house, took the dog out, bathed him and sent him to a shelter in Navi Mumbai. The family was informed about it. If we get proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) suits, we can help any pet anywhere in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai," he said.

This is not an isolated case as activists have rescued parakeets, turtles, rabbits, dogs and cats in a similar situation. In all cases, neighbours refused to feed the pets in the absence of their owners, fearing infection.

Parakeet rescued

Three days ago, a parrot was rescued from its cage in its owner's residence after the family of four tested positive. Neighbours informed animal activist Sunish Subramanian.

The parrot rescued from Bhandup is being looked after by a volunteer
The parrot rescued from Bhandup is being looked after by a volunteer

"Residents of the area in Bhandup told me the parakeet was alone at home as the family is admitted to the hospital. With the help of Bhandup police and BMC officials, I rescued the parakeet. It is being looked after by a volunteer. We will hand it over to the family later," Subramanian said.

In similar instances, two rabbits and a turtle were rescued from Naya Nagar in Mira Road. "The MBMC (Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation) and local police helped up rescue the pets. The turtle and rabbits are in my house. I send them videos of their pets every day to assure them of their safety."

Whom to call

If you know of pets left behind or in need of rescue you may call on the following numbers:
Vijay Rangare: 930143495
Sunish Subramanian: 9833480388

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