Have you given a thought to what would happen to your pet if you tested positive for coronavirus? Would your family or friends agree to take care of your pet if you need to be away? Well, you may not have thought about it, but a team of animal lovers in Hyderabad have thought about it and come up with an option to provide care for such pets.
Panneeru Teja, an animal rights activist who runs Scoobies Pet Services, is the one who came up with these services and has a team of five members helping him.
The services come at a time when the fear of COVID-19 has resulted in several pets being abandoned. Activists say the number of abandoned pets has doubled since the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to TNM, Teja says, â€śWe didnâ€™t want owners abandoning dogs in case they get COVID-19. If they have to go to hospital for treatment or need to be in home isolation, in most cases thereâ€™s no one to take care of the pets, so we decided to offer this service. We use all safety precautions like gloves, sanitisers, etc. when we go and pick up the pets. In the case of a dog, the owner, who may be in quarantine or in home isolation, is asked to tie the dog outside their home. We sanitise the chain and bring the dog to our kennel. We then give the dog a medicated bath.â€ť
It has been a week since Teja and his team began this service. So far, they have received two calls for rescue. â€śWe have cared for two dogs in the last one week. One of the calls we received was from Bachupally. An old woman had tested positive and was taken to the hospital. Her society informed her relatives and they called us to help care for her dog. We brought the pet, a Pomeranian, to our kennel. When an owner tests positive or if they are in home isolation, it affects the pets adversely because the environment at home becomes very gloomy,â€ť he says.
â€śWe have a boarding facility for pets in Cherlappally in the city. We can accommodate around 22 dogs. We also have a separate facility for cats. We charge Rs 500 per day for big breeds and Rs 400 per day for smaller breeds. We provide food, boarding and all the care that pets require. In case pet owners are not in a position to head out and want their pet to be dropped off at their friendâ€™s or relativeâ€™s place, we offer that service too,â€ť explains Teja.
Activists in the city say they have been receiving several SOS calls from pet owners ever since the pandemic broke out.
Sai Pravallika Nagam, an animal rights activist, told TNM, â€śThereâ€™s a wrong impression among many that itâ€™s unsafe to keep pets because of COVID-19. Due to this misconception, in several apartments, gated communities and societies, pet owners are being asked not to keep pets at home. Iâ€™ve received around 20 calls requesting for help ever since the pandemic began. Where will these pet owners go with their pets if such warnings and notices are given? Recently, a pet owner living in an apartment in Kushaiguda was given a notice by his building association. We got in touch with the Kushaiguda police and they helped counsel the association members. The police have been very supportive. Mahesh Bhagwat, Rachakonda Police Commissioner, has been extremely helpful.â€ť
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