Covid-19 sees rise in stray animal numbers and drop in donations

PETALING JAYA: Economic problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has affected not only people’s livelihoods but also the welfare of animals.

The number of stray animals has increased, according to the president of the animal welfare organisation Persatuan Haiwan Terbiar Malaysia (SAFM), R Kalaivanan.

The group depends heavily on donations to feed strays and treat those that are sick.

Kalaivanan told FMT donations had decreased by about 80% and the number of strays had increased by an estimated 70% since Covid-19 struck.

“I think this is due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on household incomes,” he said.

“I believe those who lost their jobs are unable to care for their pets anymore and have resorted to dumping them. We also receive reports of dumping because owners are unable to take their pets with them when they move to a new place.”

Kalaivanan said SAFM had rescued more than 300 stray cats and dogs in the Klang Valley alone this year.

According to him, the organisation, which operates only in West Malaysia, needs RM5,000 every month to sustain its programme.

“The money is used for food, medicine, vaccination, deworming and neutering as well as to provide milk formula for abandoned puppies and kittens,” he said.

SAFM has intensified its fundraising effort on social media to try to address the shortage of funds. Readers who want more information on its programme and wish to donate can visit its Facebook page.