By Adeel Saeed
PESHAWAR, Apr 12 (APP):As the preventive lockdown ordered by the government to contain spread of novel coronavirus is not only creating problems for human beings by confining them to their homes, the restriction is also causing difficulties for birds and animals including stray dogs and monkeys which could not find food due to closure of eateries, restaurants and shops.
Similarly, the pet-lovers were also found complaining of food shortage to feed their birds and animals at home due to closure of relevant shops. While animal lovers also raised voice for allowing owners of bird-shops to feed the starving creatures kept in cages. The Al-Khidmat Foundation, the charity organization, has recently opted for a novel step to feed stray dogs and monkeys which are starving due to non-availability of foods.
Talking to APP, President of Al-Khidmat Foundation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Khalid Waqas said, “We were receiving requests from people for help of stray dogs which are in problem due to shortage of food on waste dumps and roads.” He said that similar requests were also received from Galliyat where thousands of monkeys are facing problems due to absence of tourists who fed the animal. After receiving requests, “we decided to help these stray dogs and monkeys”, he added.
The volunteers of the charity organization are providing food to stray dogs in different parts of the province. While monkeys in Galliyat which were fed by the visiting tourists are now being provided food by our organization, Khalid added. He said that there were thousands of dogs on streets which are starving due to shortage of food.
Like human beings, other creatures also had the right to be helped in time of difficulty. Therefore, the Foundation has decided to feed them. Corona is not only disaster for human beings but also for animals, Khalid remarked.
In the wake of closure of all offices, markets, eateries and shops, stray animals have no means of feeding themselves and become dependent on human help. About monkeys, Khalid said the volunteers of the organization are working jointly with officials of Galliyat Development Authority (GDA) for providing food to the monkeys.
In response to a question, Khalid Waqas said that the charity organization has around 7200 volunteers in KP working in every nook and corner of the province for help of the distressed humanity due to outbreak of corona virus. “There are around 7500 to 1000 stray dogs only in Peshawar district and must be in thousands in the whole of KP,” says Dr. Syed Masoom Ali, Director Livestock Department Khyber Pakhtunkwa.
Dr. Masoom recently launched a project to contain population of stray dogs and save public from fatal rabies disease through sterilization of animals. During operation for sterilization, the dogs are also vaccinated against rabies so that it could not harm humans in future. He said the estimate about population of stray dogs in Peshawar was made by Water and Sanitation Service Department (WSSP).
Animal lovers are highly appreciating the initiative taken by the Foundation. They have urged other charity organizations to follow the spirit and practice of taking care of all creatures. “This is very commendable activity and has proved that people have soft corners for animals also,” observed Zeba Masood, a US citizen with roots in Peshawar who is already running a dog shelter home here in her native city for the last six years.
“Animals had the same right of care and help as we extend to others because these are creatures of Allah and deserves consideration and support,” Zeba said. She said, “Our religion lays great stress on care of animals and this practice of Al-Khidmat has reflected that we as a Muslims have this spirit in our heart”.
“Realizing the suffering of birds and animals is a very good gesture and must be appreciated by people from all segments of society,” says Muhammad Asfandyar, a bird lover who keeps different kinds of birds at his home. Asfandyar has also appreciated decision of the government by allowing pet shop owners to open shops for a couple of hours during lockdown for feeding of cage birds and selling foods to bird lovers.
Asfandyar said that he also faced a lot of problems in arranging food for his pet birds including parrots, pigeon and poultry due to closure of shops. He said that he was also very glad over hearing about the help of animals by t he charity organization. “In fact this activity has invoked a feeling within my own self that I should also take care of starving animals by arranging meal for them,” he added.