A plea has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Centre, the AAP government and civic bodies here to provide food and water to stray animals during the ongoing lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus.
The petition has contended that stray dogs and other animals are largely dependent on garbage and leftover food from restaurants, canteens and marketplaces, all of which have been shut in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even individuals who used to feed them are not venturing out of their homes due to the lockdown, and therefore, the strays are suffering from starvation, the plea has claimed.
It has further contended that while the governments were taking adequate measures to ensure the poor and the needy get food, no such steps are being taken for stray animals.
It has claimed that failure to take any action could result in deaths of countless stray animals due to starvation and it could lead to another epidemic as the limited municipal staff engaged in sanitisation of colonies and garbage collection would be unable to dispose of animal carcasses.
“Apart from loss of animal life, a situation will also arise where the stray dogs in particular enter into other territories searching for food and display aggressive behaviour towards humans in search of food,” the petition has said.
It has also said that presently only a handful of NGOs and volunteers are ensuring that stray animals are fed in very limited areas of Delhi.
However, due to lack of adequate fund and support, as also penal consequences that may entail for violation of the lockdown order, the volunteers are unable to take care of the several starving stray animals in the national capital, the petition has said.
The plea has also sought directions to the Animal Welfare Board of India to establish a committee to ensure adequate food and water are provided to stray animals.
The nationwide lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 in a bid to combat the Coronavirus endemic. It has been further extended till May 3.