We’re sure you have seen many cute videos of animal lovers fostering pets in the USA because it’s difficult for shelters to function during a difficult time like this. But what about India? How are the animal shelter facilities doing here? And what can you do to help? Let’s find out.
Why Should You Foster A Pet During The Coronavirus Lockdown
The Coronavirus lockdown has lead to an increased number of pets abandoned on the streets and in shelters for the following reasons:
1. More Pet Owners Are Abandoning Pets
After the spread of the Coronavirus, there has also been a spread of many rumours. Some of the rumours revolved around pets. Many sources spread the false rumour the Coronavirus can be spread by dogs.
Of course, the rumour has long been shut down, but the damage has been done. Many housing societies soon initiated a ban on dogs and penalised pet owners for walking or having dogs. In some cases, the harassment has been too severe that pet owners have abandoned their pets in shelters and on the road.
2. Abandoned Pet Stores
Many pet store owners have locked their shops and left the animals inside to die of starvation. It breaks our heart to know that there are many stores like this out there, with no one to hear the wails of a starving animal.
Fortunately, some such stores have been unveiled and the owners have been detained. Witnesses have lodged FIRs and the pets in question, have been removed from the stores and have been taken to pet shelters.
3. Difficulty Commuting
We fully support our government in this lockdown and we understand why such stringent action is necessary to manage the disease. However, the lockdown has made it very difficult for animal rescues to take place and for caregivers to go to the shelters.
The difficulty in commuting is also affecting cars and busses that are supplying essential food and medical equipment to animal shelters.
This is why shelter animals are not getting the deserved amount of nutrition. A shelter that is meant to keep them safe is having a hard time sustaining.
How Can You Help With Shelter Animals?
There are many ways to help shelter animals, but the best way to help them at a time like this is to foster them. It is not as uncommon as you may think. In fact, according to an article published by The Hindu, more animal lovers are starting to understand how important it is to foster animals and find them the right homes.
How Can You Foster A Dog In India?
If you get in touch with an NGO, you can take turns fostering a pet for a few weeks to a few months. NGOs and shelters are currently working overtime to accommodate more animals that have increased on the streets because of the lockdown. Any help that you can provide would mean a lot.
Many big organizations have their own foster forms making it easier for them to screen applicants. But you can also get in touch with local small scale shelters because they are the ones that are overflowing with animals and they need your help.
The country is under lockdown but that does not mean we can’t spread love and joy to those who need it the most. Consider fostering a dog or a cat and help them find the love they deserve.
How Else Can You Help?
We understand that fostering is not for everyone. You may live in a small house or with older family members and it’s not feasible for you to bring home a sad, traumatised pet at home. Remember that if you cannot provide pets with an optimal environment, it defeats the purpose of fostering them in the first place.
So, if you can’t foster a pet, you shouldn’t be upset about it. There are other ways to help the animal community.
Here’s how you can help:
1. Feeding Strays
Now with fewer commuters, strays have very little food to scavenge on. We suggest carrying a small number of biscuits every time you go out to buy essentials.
Feeding strays will keep them nourished and also reduce stray dog aggression on the road.
Donating food or pet sleeping mats will come a long way. Most shelters cannot afford warm beds for animals so if you can give them thin cushions it will keep them comfortable. However, the one thing that shelters are always running out of is food.
Shelters need food, lots of it. So, if you can give them home-cooked meals or marketed dog and cat food, it will come a long way.
3. Reporting FIRs Against Unjust Behavior
Lastly, this is not a good time, and many are taking their frustrations out on animals. If a member in your locality is giving pet owners a hard time or if you know a pet shop owner who has abandoned their shop, you must file an FIR.
We understand that there is a lot going on around you and sometimes it may feel overwhelming. But remember, even a small initiative can help an animal in need. Little by little, we will make lives better for shelter animals in India.