Dogged by cracker noise

BACK IN ACTION: Scared away by the noise of crackers, street dogs return to their regular haunts after nearly three days.

BACK IN ACTION: Scared away by the noise of crackers, street dogs return to their regular haunts after nearly three days.  

THE FESTIVAL of lights may be over for the humans. However, the reverberations of Deepavali crackers still haunt the voiceless animals. Equally affected are the birds that have built their nests in avenue trees. For a newborn chick in the nest, the noise may even prove fatal.

Pet owners in the city say that a day before the Deepavali and two days after it, animals stop eating. On these days, they hide themselves or sit on the laps of their masters, the horror and shock reflected in their eyes.

A common complaint is that many of the pets and community dogs have run out of their houses or the streets to avoid the trauma of the cracker noise. In many areas, the community dogs ran away just before Deepavali and are slowly returning to the streets only now, residents say.

More than the community dogs, it is the pedigree pets, which undergo severe stress and strain during the festivities, say animal welfare activists. Due to acute fear, pedigree pets are disoriented and run out of homes. However, they are not able to return home with ease and often get lost, activists explain.

One of the residents of Anna Nagar West, Malini, says soon after the first cracker was burst in the area, the pets in her house refused to leave the laps of their owner and were in dread of staying at home alone.

Shivering and drooling, her pets refused to touch the food offered by them.

"They refused even to drink water and taking care of them became a major task. Because of this, which I was not able to prepare sweets for the festival," says Malini.

The situation was no better on the streets, she adds. She visited a nearby slum to check the condition of the community dogs there. Not a single mongrel was found on the streets.

Local residents in other areas too mentioned that canines had disappeared from the streets.

Interestingly, volunteers of the People for Animals (PfA) rescued two pedigree pets - a Doberman and an Alsatian, which ran out of their homes during Deepavali. PfA volunteers said the Doberman was from Mogappair and the other pet was found loitering in one of the residential areas on the city's outskirts. Both the pets have been now housed at the Cattle Shed in Choolai.

The Blue Cross shelter at Velachery admitted about half a dozen pets, which were injured due to cracker bursting. Volunteers said they received 17 rescue calls. While a few of them were pedigree pets, the majority of them were mongrels, they said. Sadly, two of them died even before any treatment could be administered, add the volunteers.

By Oppili P

Photo: N. Sridharan

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