Four-year-old Indonesian pitbull Gledis was home alone for two days withoutfood when a group of volunteers found her.

She is among many pets left behind when their owners tested positive forCOVID-19 and were hospitalised or placed in isolation.

With more than 3.7 million confirmed cases and over 100,000 deaths, Indonesiais battling one of the worst coronavirus epidemics in Asia.

The “AD-19 programme” launched last month by rights group Animal Defenderhelps pets left in limbo while their owners deal with coronavirus infections.

The pets picked up by Animal Defender usually get a checkup before going to anexisting animal shelter. The AD-19 programme has in the past month added 40dogs and four cats to more than 160 guests already at the shelter.

Founder Doni Herdaru Tona has been selling homemade food and clothes for catsand dogs to raise cash for the care of the unsupervised pets. His sheltercosts about 120 million rupiah ($8,340) to run each month. No donations orpayments are accepted from owners.

Concerns about virus transmission from animal to human also complicated thesituation and meant many pets were abandoned, Doni said.

Veterinarian Magda Rumawas said people should not be overly worried andrecommends COVID-19 patients in self-isolation keep pets by their side to easeanxiety.

“They can keep people entertained and they can help to reduce stress, which isgood. But my advice is, do not hug and kiss the dogs,” Magda said.

The AD-19 rescue mission is tailored to the needs of pet owners, and includesbathing, feeding and the cleaning of cages.

“We will do everything according to the owner’s request,” said Doni.

Usually pets are returned to their owners upon their recovery. But in somecases, owners do not return.

“The scariest part is our mobile phone is mostly filled by reports of ownerswho had passed away, and their pets are abandoned,” said Doni.

Image: founder of the Animal Defenders, Doni Herdaru Tona, feeds rescued dogsat their shelter in Parung, Bogor, West Java province, Indonesia, August 9,2021. Picture taken August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Adi Kurniawan

Source: Routers

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