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Hard Times for Humans, Hardships for Pets, Too

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By PAOLA NAVARETTE

On Monday midnight, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Luzon, home to over 57 million people, under enhanced community quarantine.

The extreme lockdown has caused shops and malls to close and forced families to self-quarantine in their homes to avoid being infected and falling victim to this pneumonia-like disease, which has so far sickened 262 Filipinos.

But it’s not just humans impacted by the spread of the pandemic. Many animals in pet stores and pounds are at risk of dying from starvation in the absence of their caretakers, who have not been allowed to return to the city following the ongoing strict quarantine measures and a halt on transport.

“It’s very concerning,” said Malou Perez, founder of Bacolod-based rescue group for dogs, Pawssion Project Foundation. “We know this all happened so fast but we need contingency plans for animals in need in times of crisis.”

Perez said they received some reports about animals being left behind in pet stores on Cartimar Avenue in Pasay. “One of our followers was even able to capture a video of Cartimar dogs howling and asking for help,” she said.

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But later, her source clarified that the area has a skeletal force coming in to feed the pets daily.

“A pet shop owner and a reliable person told us that Cartimar has a skeletal force coming in to feed the animals daily and some of the store owners live there as well. Still, we hope it’s the same for the others,” she said.

Perez said that they are currently reaching out to pet shop owners, volunteers, and other people who have connections with local government units to help address this issue.

“As much as we want to help, pet stores and pounds are privately-owned properties so any attempt to break is considered trespassing,” she said. “Some pet parents also never intended to abandon their beloved pets, but because of how quickly the COVID-19 infection spreads, some have been forced to stay put wherever they are so we also need to help them.” 

Perez also hopes the local government units will set up an animal help desk and assign an animal patrol and a city veterinarian in areas with a large number of pet stores. 

“I hope the recent Taal eruption will open the eyes of everyone to how least priority animals are in the middle of a crisis,” she said. “We know that our desire to remain afloat during this time is very strong, but let’s not forget about the voiceless.”

 



Source: Manila Bulletin

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