Published: 20th April 2020
Delhi's oldest animal shelter continues its mission of caring for stray animals
The team has been preparing massive quantities of fresh food to feed over a thousand stray dogs and cats on the street
In these tough times, stray animals on the street are in need of help more than ever. Delhi's oldest animal shelter Friendicoes SECA is working 24x7 to ensure that food and emergency care reach as many animals as possible. The NGO is also operating an ambulance service for animals in distress and an emergency clinic for pets.
Ever since the nationwide lockdown was announced on the 24th of March, a group of dedicated caregivers from Friendicoes SECA (Society for the Eradication of Cruelty to Animals) have been preparing massive quantities of fresh food to feed over a thousand stray dogs and cats on the street. Usually, the animals rely on easily available food from concerned citizens or leftovers from neighbourhood markets, restaurants and food stalls, but the sudden and absolute isolation has left a large number of dogs and cats starving, thirsty and utterly lonely.
The NGO is presently preparing over 500 kilograms of food daily for them with 4 ambulances covering the areas of Netaji Nagar, Kidwai Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Chankyapuri, JLN stadium, Soochna Bhawan, Vinobapuri, Srinivaspuri, Hari Nagar, Ashram, Siddharth Extension, Delhi Jal Board, Bhagwan Nagar, Vidyut Vihar, Sarai Kale Khan Bus terminal, Bahrein Man-dir, Pragati Mandir and towards ITO as well as the Saket-Qutub Institutional area.
Another major cause of concern is of pets being abandoned due to fear of contagion amongst pet owners. Such cases have increased to misconceptions revolving around the transmission of the disease, or a lack of funds or medical resources to treat sick pets. These animals are taken in for treatment at the animal hospital run by the Friendicoes SECA in Jangpura where they are provided ample food, rest and treatment for injuries or infections. They've taken in over 25 pets that were abandoned by their owners since the lockdown began.
Dr Prabhakaran, Veterinary Officer at Friendicoes SECA, said, "We are treating over 35 cases a day. In these tough times, people are abandoning their sick pets. Our staff is working 24x7 on an emergency basis putting their own lives at risk. Keeping with health and safety guidelines, all staff members have access to gloves, face masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and other necessary equipment to stay safe."
Geeta Seshamani, Vice President of Friendicoes SECA, said, "We are trying to cover as many areas as possible, but of course, it is in no way enough. Thousands of animals are still going hungry or sick on the streets and every day we wonder if we have done enough. Please don't start abandoning your pets due to the fear of contagion. There is no direct evidence proving that pets play a role in transmitting this infection. Human to human transmission is still one of the key infection sources of COVID-19 and we must continue to take preventive measures against this outbreak."
While addressing the nation Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged people to be compassionate towards animals as they too have been impacted during this lockdown. Animals are finding it difficult to seek out food and water sources during this difficult time.
As the team is trying to increase their feeding areas and provide help to as many lives as possible, they are fighting a massive resource crunch. Any donations of gloves, masks, pet food or even funds can make a big difference!