Marc Atiyeh•March 30, 2020•2 min read
The Coronavirus pandemic has, without a doubt, thrown the world into chaos. These past few weeks have been filled with fear and uncertainty — and that’s understandable. What isn’t understandable, however, is how much this crisis has affected our animals and how we treat them. News outlets have reported unprecedented numbers of abandoned pets in the wake of COVID-19, and many animal activists fear it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are also reports of widespread animal slaughter as misinformation spreads as fast as the disease itself.
So let’s say it together, and loud enough for the people in the back, DO NOT ABANDON OR HURT YOUR PETS IN THE NAME OF THE CORONAVIRUS. It pains me as a pet parent to imagine all the animals affected because of this — left in evacuated apartments to starve or killed in the streets to prevent spreading a disease they aren’t even known carriers of. I say it once, I’ll say it again. STOP! THESE ANIMALS ARE INNOCENT AND DO NOT DESERVE TO SUFFER.
When you adopt a pet into your family, you make a commitment to cherish and care for that animal through thick and thin. The idea of leaving your pet behind for any reason is unthinkable to me. My two dogs are like my children, and it blows my mind that this would even be an option, let alone a worst-case scenario. The stories of people poisoning their pets make me equal parts sad and angry. These innocent creatures depend on us and we cannot let them suffer just because we’re unsure on how to proceed with our lives.
Again, I know the world feels very scary right now, and it feels like information is changing every day. But please don’t let your pet be the victim of ignorance. While, for example, a few dogs have tested a weak positive for Coronavirus, absolutely nothing has shown that they can carry and spread this disease to humans. We need to end the misinformation as well as the cruelty.
As a pet parent, I pledge to use my time to make sure no more animals fall prey to human ignorance around Coronavirus. I am overwhelmingly happy to hear news of record animal fostering numbers alongside these terrible stories. Studies have shown that pets have a tremendously positive effect on our mental health — which is precisely what we need while we shelter in place and spend more time alone. And that’s why adopting and fostering is exactly what we should be doing in times like this, not abandoning — or worse. That means it’s our responsibility to take care of the animals that wouldn’t think twice about taking care of us. We owe them that much.
Be smart. Be kind. Who’s with me?