MUMBAI: A group of people in the city and beyond has set out to check if animals and birds kept for sale in pet shops need to be rescued. They fear that these creatures of exotic species could be cooped inside cages in shops, which have been locked for at least three days amid the lockdown.
Pet shops, across the city have animals and birds, mostly of exotic varieties, cooped up in cages. It is common practice to leave them inside the shops after business shuts for the day. The largest such market is at Crawford Market.
The group was cobbled up to check if animals in pet shops need help or owners have taken them home, said Dr Deepa Katyal, who has a clinic in Chembur. “Our fear was that most pet shop owners, if not all, see this only as a trade and are not passionate about animals. Someone posted on social media that such pets could possibly be left to die of starvation,” said Dr Katyal.
In Dombivli, owners of three shops were called by police and told to cart the birds away to a safe place, said an animal activist.
Ambika Hiranandani, member and legal advisor of state animal welfare board, said she has been trying to garner police help to check on animals holed up inside pet shops. “If there are pets inside shops, the owners need to be told to keep them at home till the situation normalises, or have an attendant at the shop feed them at least twice a day,” said Hiranandani. “If not, police need to open the shops and ensure the attendants do their job,” she added.
Meet Ashar from Peta India said he fears the worst. “The animals will be starving, probably lying on their waste. With pathogens flaring up, we can soon expect a disease outbreak in the vicinity, apart from dealing with a mass graveyard.”
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