Selangor animal shelters struggle to cope amid Covid-19 crisis

Many strays are left out on the streets because of insufficient space at shelters. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Animal welfare groups in Selangor have expressed concern over the rise in Covid-19 cases, as they struggle to cope with the effects of the pandemic since it first hit in March.

The PAWS Animal Welfare Society and Second Chance Animal Society said they have seen a drop in the number of adoptions, donations and volunteers over the last eight months.

PAWS manager Edward Lim told FMT that although the rate of pet dumping had not increased, they were not able to take in many strays as there was not enough room.

“We have found it difficult to rehome strays and our donations have also dropped. We are already on a very tight budget all the time, but now we are burning into our reserves.”

PAWS Animal Welfare Society manager Edward Lim.

Lim said the number of adoptions at PAWS had decreased by 30% to 40% over the last few months, with the shelter losing RM70,000 in donations during the first phase of the movement control order (MCO).

“We’re thankful for the government’s subsidy for wages and salaries. A lot of MPs have also done their part and donated some money, but they also face difficulties so we’ll just have to make do for the time being.”

Kim Yeoh, president of the Second Chance Animal Society, said the shelter was struggling for funds and manpower and was unable to run weekly and monthly adoption drives, which were used to educate the public on the importance of neutering.

Yeoh said many foreigners returning to their home countries were leaving their pets at the shelter.

However, some shelters have found it easier to sustain their business, with My Pets Haven noting an increase in adoptions since the MCO.

My Pets Haven founder Aileen Lee.

Its founder Aileen Lee said she was surprised that the shelter had received more questions about adoption despite the poor economy.

She said this was probably because more people were working from home and wanted pets to keep them company.

Lee said while the shelter was still accepting volunteers, most had opted to help out remotely, such as managing its social media pages or selling cookies to raise funds online.

“We are worried things might get harder because there have been more cases in Selangor. But as long as everyone in the shelter follows the SOPs, we should be safe.”