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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Despite a lot of awareness and clarification by World Health Organisation (WHO), instances of people abandoning their pets out of fear of getting infected with Coronavirus has now emerged as a major concern not only for animal lovers but also for the Odisha government.

In a letter to all chief district veterinary officers, Fisheries and ARD department secretary R. Raghu Prasad has asked the officials to create awareness to prevent abandoning of pet animals or inflicting cruelty on animals due to the fear of spread of deadly COVID-19.

“It has come to notice that some animal owners and pet owners are abandoning their animals to stray without proper food, water and shelter due to the fear of spread of COVID-19,” Prasad said in his letter.

The official further stated that the current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. Already, WHO has clarified that dogs and cats are not involved in spreading the virus in the current episode of coronavirus infection.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: CISCE Postpones ICSE, ISC 2020 Examinations Till March 31

Former W&CD minister and animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi has time and again appealed people not to abandon their pets. Due to rumour-mongering on social media, people are abandoning their pets at different parts of the country.

“I am receiving many reports of people abandoning their pets because of the Coronavirus Outbreak. According to the Health and Family Welfare ministry and WHO, it is impossible for the coronavirus to get transmitted from animals to humans or vice versa,” Gandhi tweeted.

In the latest advisory, the Fisheries and ARD department clarified that there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease. Therefore there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.

The veterinary officials at district-levels have been directed to create adequate awareness among people to ensure that they do not leave their pet animals to stray or inflict any kind of unnecessary pain and suffering to animals due to fear of COVID-19.

Pet owners are advised to practice healthy habits around their pets including proper hand-washing after handling the animals, cleaning up their pets at regular intervals.

Also Read: COVID-19 Scare: Puri Administration Asks Tourists To Vacate Hotels In 2 Days

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