As the nationwide lockdown enters week 2, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) finds itself dealing with an unlikely problem, taking care of stray dogs that have been left without food.
Pune has an estimated 1.5 lakh stray dogs, and most of them feed on leftover restaurant food and scraps from garbage dumps, but all restaurants have shuttered during the lockdown period.
“The PMC has recieved information about the worsening situation of stray dogs due to non- availabilty of food. If this can’t be handled, these dogs will get aggressive and may become a threat to humans,” said Prakash Wagh, in-charge of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) department of PMC.
He said the civic department doesn’t have the facility to feed so many stray dogs, but it has aproached animal activists and other organisations to take care of food supplies for stray dogs.
Animal activist Manjiri Patwardhan said the situation of stray dogs in the city was dire. “A team of 500 animal lovers have come forward to provide food to stray dogs. There is also a transportation problem and there sin’t enough pet food available in the market. It is getting difficult to manage but we are trying our best,” she said.
The volunteers are catering to a few thousand dogs as it is impossible to cover the entire dog population in the city, said Patwardhan. “We are trying to feed cooked food to the dogs, but I dont’ know how many days this will last…,” said Patwardhan.
Wagh also said some city residents had even abandoned their pet dogs. “…Some citizens have abandoned their pet dogs in their houses or compounds while leaving the city. In one case, a dog starved to death while two dogs in the same residential premise were rescued and sent to an animal welfare agency,” he said.
Patwardhan also said some dog owners have abandoned their pets at home and left the city. “One such dog was rescued from a house with police help. The pet dog was in a bad state and recovering from trauma,” she said.
Meanwhile, Wagh said the ABC programme being implemented through private agencies has come to a complete halt. “The labours of the agencies have fled the city after the coronavirus outbreak.”
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