Coronavirus outbreak: Deprived of even leftovers, lockdown hits stray dogs hard in Ghaziabad
Animal lovers and activists in the city have been working overtime to help stray dogs, who have found food hard to come by due to the ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown, which mandates that people stay indoors to prevent the spread of Covid-19`.
With residential high-rises shutting their gates and locking themselves down and vendors staying off the streets, strays have been scrounging for food.
“Supplies of eggs, bread and biscuits have been hampered, so we are feeding stray dogs rice mixed with dog food and ghee. Stray dogs were dependent on leftover food from street vendors, who have now shut shop,” said Ruchin Mehra, an animal activist and resident of Raj Nagar Extension in Ghaziabad.
“We have asked residents of high-rises to at least keep one chapati outside their homes so that we can collect them and feed the dogs,” Mehra added.
Ashima Sharma, who runs Devbhumi Animal Shelter near NTPC Dadri, said she and her team of volunteers are feeding stray dogs every day, but in small quantities owing to supplies being choked.
“Due to the lockdown of high-rises, there is hardly any leftover food available for stray dogs. We are trying to provide them food in areas like Raj Nagar Extension, Patel Nagar, Kavi Nagar, and others. However, there isn’t much shortage of leftovers in areas that have smaller houses,” Sharma said.
Ghaziabad has about 250 residential high-rises spread across areas like Kaushambi, Indirapuram, Vaishali, Raj Nagar Extension and Crossings Republik, among others.
“Residents will face another problem if stray dogs suffer health problems and die due to the shortage of food,” Sharma added.
Medhavi Mishra, an animal activist from Indirapuram said travel restrictions limited the distance that she and other volunteers could travel to feed dogs.
“The high-rises have locked down and our cars are not allowed to enter or exit several areas. Even we cannot travel far because we are stopped by the police. We don’t know whether passes will be available for us to move out or not,” she added.
Dr Anuj Kumar Singh, the Ghaziabad municipal corporation’s veterinary and animal welfare officer, said the civic body has no arrangements to ensure stray dogs are fed.
“There is one shelter home where stray dogs that are injured or ailing are brought and taken back after treatment. As far as stray dogs are concerned, they are solely dependent on food residents give them. We expect the regular food supply chain to be restored, and shops too will open up. In the meanwhile, we request local residents to help out such stray dogs by giving them some food,” Singh said.
In August last year, the Uttar Pradesh state government had announced that people who adopted stray cattle from a cow shelter would get a monthly grant of Rs 900 per adopted animal for its upkeep.
“There are about 3,900 cows across shelters in Ghaziabad. Arrangements have been made to provide fodder for cows. But have no such provision for stray dogs. We will soon allow passes for activists so that they can move out to feed stray animals during the lockdown period,” said Dr Brijendra Tyagi, the district’s chief veterinary officer.