As confirmed coronavirus cases in Wuhan, China continues to spike (20,438 as of Tuesday according to a report by CNN), most of their pets have been left to fend for themselves as their owners were evacuated to stop the virus from spreading.
Many people were unable to take their pets with them, because they thought they would return soon to their respective homes. Now, they are using social media to seek the help of animal rescue teams to give their pets some food.
Zhou Xianwang, Wuhan’s mayor, said that an estimated 50,000 pets had fled the city ahead of the Chinese New Year. Animal rescue groups are also calling for a warning after there had been claims on local authorities to cull dogs and cats after fears of them being carriers of the virus.
Lao Mao, a local, told Sky News in an interview that a family had asked him to break into their home to feed their two cats. He had since saved around a thousand animals with other rescue groups. Some owners planned to get away for just three days, but restrictions across the country did now allow them to return to Wuhan.
“My conservative estimate is that around 5,000 are still trapped, and they may die of starvation in the coming days. The volunteers on our team, me included, have saved more than 1,000 pets since 25 January,” said Lao Mao.
Humane Society International (HSI) predicts the number is higher and they are concerned after there had been several reports of local governments ordering to cull dogs and cats in Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Heilongjiang, Hebei, Wuhan, Shanxi and Shanghai.
“If the local authorities decide that dogs per say are a threat, I would be concerned for the welfare of both street dogs and home dogs,” Wendy Higgins, HSI spokeswoman, said.
The World Health Organization confirmed there is no evidence that pets such as dogs and cats can be infected with the virus.
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