As the world responded to the pandemic, many animals were stripped of their basic needs; food, shelter, and care. It put animals who were already in a vulnerable position – living on the streets or with a family who struggled to provide for them – in a desperate and often life-threatening position.
With restaurants, cafes, and food markets closed in national lockdowns, animals starved. Homeless animals who once relied on discarded food scraps and hand-outs from the community, struggled on the empty streets.
Stray animals were forced out of their normal territories in search of food, where they had to compete for the little that was left and were exposed to unfamiliar dangers. As a result, the number of injuries from fight wounds, uncovered wells, and plastic containers – where stray dogs often get their heads stuck – increased.
Curfews and movement restrictions created problems for many charities and NGOs. In many places around the world, these hampered the capacity to reach animals in need and made even ordinary rescues challenging.
Basic vet care put on hold
To minimise the spread of COVID-19, many veterinary clinics closed their doors to routine check-ups and basic vet care – opening services only to emergencies. This delayed many animals from receiving vaccinations, sterilisation, de-worming, and more, and jeopardized the overall health of the animal population.
We improvised, adapted, and overcame challenges – for animals everywhere.
Facing increased demand for veterinary treatment and care worldwide, we quickly adapted our way of working to protect animals against new threats emerging from the pandemic.
We became an essential service
Whilst other veterinary clinics and animal welfare groups had to cease operations in lockdown, our centres across India, Thailand, and Malawi were deemed essential by local governments due to the wide variety of services we offer, and as such, never closed. With new travel permits in hand, our mobile rescue teams continued to reach thousands of animals in their moment of need, whilst our veterinary teams took on the huge upsurge in emergencies caused by the conditions on the empty streets and the lack of open facilities to treat and care for them.
We launched a feeding taskforce
Lockdowns emptied many streets overnight, leaving little food for the homeless animals. Alongside other NGOs and volunteers, our teams in India were enlisted to form a feeding taskforce to help starving and dehydrated animals survive the ongoing pandemic.
We found a new way of working
Our centres never closed but travel restrictions, curfews, and social distancing rules meant we had to put stringent preventive measures in place, work in new shift patterns and follow local government guidelines to continue to help animals in need. Without the availability of international and at times local volunteers, our permanent teams stepped up to meet the challenge head-on.
With the support of people like you, we can care for more animals around the world. Donate, fundraise, volunteer, or join one of our training courses today. Whichever way you feel able to support us, you’ll be ensuring that every animal receives the care they deserve.