Hyderabad: With Diwali just round the corner, animal rights activists and pet owners are a worried lot. The loud sound of firecrackers is enough to give repeated nervous breakdowns to dogs and cats, while birds and even cattle feel the after effects of the festival that fills the city with noisy celebrations with the bursting of firecrackers.
The worst-hit are the strays, mostly dogs as well as cats that normally prowl the city’s streets.
Anupama Tirumalasetty, an animal lover, is worried about her community dogs (strays) during this upcoming festival. She takes care of about a dozen dogs in Engineers Colony in Yellareddyguda, where she lives. “Dogs panic, they hide under the parked cars or find some hideouts. They stop eating food. The bursting of crackers scare them the most.”
Anupama added: “The hearing of dogs is far more than humans and when crackers are set off, even my heart misses a beat. Just imagine what these poor creatures go through.”
“Diwali is the most traumatic period for animals. While we cannot provide shelter and safety for all animals, we can at least spread awareness and appeal to the people to celebrate this Festival of Lights with lights and not with firecrackers. We can celebrate it by lighting lamps and respect the lives of the animals,” according to Gowri Vandana from the Association for Animal Shelter and Rescue Aid.
She added: “There are some people who tie crackers to stray dogs set them off causing burn wounds on the dogs and practically scare them to death. We see incidents of such cruelty every year.”
According to Dr Madhusudhan, assistant director of the animal husbandry department, firecrackers are stuff of nightmares for animals and birds. “The sudden rise in pollution affects birds as do bright lights. Cows and buffalos are also among the animals that get severely disturbed by the bursting fire crackers. Typically, during the Diwali period, their milk output falls, we also notice gastrointestinal problems among cattle. Sometimes, pregnant cattle also suffer sudden abortions because of the stress induced by fireworks,” Dr Madhusudhan said.
Mohd Isaq and his sister are worried about their Saint Bernard dog and Persian cat. “Both the pets will be scared of the crackers. They hide under the cot and they stop eating,” Isaq said.
Dr Madhusudhan advised those with pets at home, to keep them indoors, and try to provide them with sound-proof rooms to minimise the noise. “During times of stress, give your pets their favourite food in small portions so they can be fed more times in a day. It is for those who keep pets to ensure that the animals feel safe and secure,” he said.
Cattle, he said, should be left without being tied up, in case of any fire accident, they can run to a safer place. Their feed should be checked if they are not in covered sheds to ensure no falling fireworks debris has fallen into their feed....