This topic may come off as sad or negative, but it needs to be addressed nonetheless. The Movement Control Order (MCO) was put into effect as of the 18th of March 2020 to flatten the Covid-19 curve. As people were told to stay indoors with so much time on their hands, many have taken to pet adoption or even buying a purebred pet to fill their time and give them company. Some chose this option to give their children something to play with. So what happens after the MCO is over and life outdoors resumes?
This is what has been causing the number of pet abandonment cases to triple over the last couple of months since people have started going back to work and school. With the crumbling economy, people have blamed their lack of income to justify abandoning a pet. Most claim to not have enough time to take care of the pets and give them attention. We agree that these things are the reality of this post-MCO phase as people are either dismissed from their jobs or are drowning in work, however that does not make abandonment excusable in any way. If anything, it is more heart-wrenching as it shows that people who dumped their pets after MCO see animals as mere playthings, and not living, sentient creatures. This shows that the idea of getting a pet during MCO was not thought through and was not taken seriously.
Pets are domesticated, especially ones that are bred and sold in pet stores. These animals can’t survive out on their own the way strays do as they are used to having a human tend to their needs. These needs do not refer solely to food and water. Pets also rely on humans for love, veterinary care and grooming. Without veterinary care, animals with diseases will suffer in silence, almost ensuring a slow death. Animals left ungroomed will contract external parasites and overgrowing fur that covers the eyes makes it hard for them to even see. Since these pets have no survival skills out in the open, chances of them dying of starvation, thirst, being run over by vehicles or abused by immature and heartless passers by is dangerously high. These innocent beings somehow become the victims of humans’ bad choices.
Dumping your pet by the roadside or even at the wet market is incredibly irresponsible. When you get yourself a pet, you are automatically obligated to look after them till the end. Shelters have teamed with authorities to track the irresponsible owners, but sadly it was to no avail. Tracking the owners is not as easy as it seems as it is hard to prove ownership. Pets that are abandoned are often without collars, tags or microchips. Therefore there is almost no details of where the pets were abandoned from.
Speaking of shelters, shelters are not pet owners’ dumping grounds. Although sending pets to a shelter secures the pets’ access to food, water and care as opposed to leaving them to fend for themselves on the streets, that does not make it okay for one to push their responsibility as a pet owner onto someone else once it is no longer convenient for them. With more and more pets being dropped off at shelters, shelters are becoming overpopulated. This is especially a problem to no-kill shelters that run on donations as it will exhaust their funds. No one likes being sardined in a cage, especially not pets, and that is exactly what would happen when shelters get overpopulated. Once there are too many dogs or cats in the shelter, cages get cramped and congested.
We understand how dreadful the MCO was for a lot of people. With the number of Covid-19 cases here in Malaysia currently surging, we urge you to not adopt a pet if an MCO were to be effective once more. Instead, try these activities instead:
- Video chat a loved one
- Have tea in your garden
- Read that book you bought 3 years ago but never read ‘cause “Aiyaaa no time lah!”
- Bake something (let’s all just move out of the banana bread phase, agreed?)!
- Play a board game with your family
- Pick up a new language
- Home work outs
- Skin care routine
The list goes on...
What we’re trying to say here is that you don’t need a pet during MCO to fill your time. There are so many other things to do and we assure you, you’ll find your fun. We do not mean that having a pet is a bad thing. No. It is wonderful and it fills you with immeasurable bliss. We mean that if you do want to get a pet, think the decision through as having a pet means holding another life in your hands.