Pet owners abandoning their pet animals has become a common occurrence, judging by the surge in the numbers of strays.
However, the practice of casting away your furry friends should cease. In a Facebook post, Noah’s Ark Ipoh Animal Welfare (NAI), a local animal welfare group, mentioned that the shelter has been receiving countless calls about individuals wanting to ‘surrender’ their pets with the excuse of moving out. It is heartbreaking to see people resort to such means when dealing with pets they no longer want.
It has been clear how this pandemic crisis has affected the community. Financial constraints, among other major issues, are one of the main reasons pet owners may find themselves unable to keep caring for their furry friends.
Even so, abandoning pets on the roads should not be an option. In the worst case scenario, it is advisable to seek an animal shelter’s advice as to what can be done.
According to the Malaysian Animal Association, there is a threefold increase in the number of pet abandonment since the COVID-19 outbreak. The ‘ideal’ location of dumping by irresponsible owners are usually remote areas or industrial areas.
Most of them would wander off to the highways searching for food and the defenceless souls often accidentally get knocked over by oncoming vehicles.
Malika Ramiah Oates of Noah’s Ark Ipoh said that if one can no longer take care of their pets, they should look for potential adopters. Granted, that it is not easy, but one should never take the easy way out when it comes to their pets.
“Shelters are struggling due to the overwhelming numbers of strays,” she lamented.
Pet owners are also advised to neuter their pets to prevent more potential increase in strays. Moreover, educating others in the community about the issue is another way to combat animal cruelty and pet homelessness.
Malika suggested that NGOs working together with the local council in terms of distributing flyers or pamphlets to the public would help greatly. On a larger scale, responsible parties can display informative insights on billboards or other media. The government’s effort is of utmost importance; for instance, public vets can subsidise treatment and spaying rates to those who cannot afford.
Malika also recommended that every pet be microchipped as a condition of registration for easier identification so that when it gets lost or abandoned, its owner can be traced. Besides that, licensing fees should be increased for breeders as well.
NAI is offering free neutering to rescuers as well as those who are going through rough patches via a campaign which commenced in August. It’s their effort in trying to prevent the shelter from being overpopulated. For more information regarding the campaign, refer to the flyer below.
Unfortunately, despite neutering the animals being NAI’s main priority since 2009, the effort has been to no avail, attributed to reasons such as lack of awareness and one’s personal belief.
“We have not seen much change until today and the very reason is lack of awareness among the community. Many of them believe that doing so will alter the cat or dog’s personality. There are also those who believe that we shouldn’t interfere with nature.
“Shelters are not the answer to everything. Simply phoning up and saying ‘I want to surrender my pet’ is not the answer. Who is going to take care of them? Most of them are managed by our volunteers; feeding, rescuing, cleaning, treating and taking care of unwanted animals. The easy part is making that call and asking, ‘can you take my cat or dog?’ but no one ever asked, ‘will you be able to manage it?’,” she expressed.
Noah’s Ark Ipoh is in need of support especially in times like these. Donations can be channeled directly into Noah’s Ark bank account, CIMB Account Number 80-0488594-1 Persatuan Penyelamat Haiwan Terbiar Bahtera Noah Ipoh Perak.
Please bear in mind that although pets may just be a small part of our lives for some of us, to them, we are their entire world.
Be kind to them like how you would your family, because you are their family too.