Abandoning Pet: A grave Cruelty – Dr. Harpal Gida (M.V.Sc.)


Fears that the companion pets might transmit COVID-19 infection has increased the cases
of pet abandonment by the panicked owners. The animals are thrown out on streets and
they suffer beating, kicking, over-riding, torturing, thirst, hunger, and even death. Cruelty to
animals is an offense under Section 11(1)(i) and Section 11(1)(j), PCA Act, 1960’ which
comes with a prison term of up to three months. Hence, it is important to understand what is
cruelty to animals. Causing unnecessary pain or suffering to pet animals, animals left outside
without proper shelter, neglecting an animal by denying sufficient food, water, shelter, and
exercise or by keeping them chained/confined for long, comes under cruelty to animals.
If someone is COVID-19 infected, or suspected, he/she should practice strict quarantine and
one must restrict their contact with others including pets. Ask another member of your family
to take care of your pets. Based on scientific papers published so far on the matter, it is clear
that pet animals do not transmit the COVID-19 infection to humans. Although it is advisable
to avoid close contact with your pets, including sharing food, snuggling/petting, and kissing
your pets to avoid the spread of disease. Currently, there are no vaccines for COVID-19 for
people or animals. The World Health Organization has advised all pet owners that instead of
abandoning pets, owners should focus on good hygiene.
Happy Pet Parenting.