The announcement of a 21-day lockdown has left many people wondering about the imposed restrictions on essential services. Although it was made clear that citizens can go out to buy basic necessities such as groceries, food items, medicines and other essential products, yet, there remains an air of confusion regarding the condition of stray dogs.
Feeding stray dogs can be considered a part of urban life, where many people make it a routine to feed the stray animals, usually including dogs, cats and in some instance, birds. Post the announcement of the lockdown, many people who feed the strays may have thought what the lockdown meant, and that they might not be able to feed the dogs. This would have an adverse effect on the stray animals as they generally have a limited source of food. Many are of the opinion that people might have to stop feeding the dogs or go early in the morning before 7 am or at night after 9 or 10 pm to feed the dogs.
But thankfully, Maneka Gandhi, member of the Lok Sabha, posted on her Twitter handle a circular generated by AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India), which states that people who intend to feed stray animals can perform such activities even in the scenario of a lockdown.
Advisory from the Animal Welfare Board of India. pic.twitter.com/b0Vq9tP8IR
— Maneka Sanjay Gandhi (@Manekagandhibjp) March 24, 2020
The circular also stated the intention of this process: “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 dead animals and birds may further spread different diseases.”
It is also necessary to take into account that no possible unwanted scenario arises that could result in the spread of diseases. However, the circular states that these activities should be performed in particular time slots to avoid big gatherings.
This notification by the AWBI comes as a relief to citizens who regularly feed stray dogs in their localities, and also acts as an official confirmation by the Government to continue with the process of feeding the stray animals. No individual can have the authority in stopping them by stating that such activities can spread COVID-19, because animal to human transmission cases have not been seen, yet.