Covid outbreak in Shanghai caused dogs to be locked with their owners

HONG KONG – Facts Citywide lockdown in Shanghaithe Web of Chinaworst Coronavirus outbreaks for two years, so severe that even some dogs couldn’t go outside. So their owners are bringing outdoor space to them.

For Anjo, a 2-year-old Pomeranian, that meant some leaves and grass that Dani Chapman picked up together on her balcony while she looked after the dog for a friend in quarantine.

“We had to come up with really creative ways to encourage the dogs to use the bathroom,” said Chapman, 32, an English teacher from Ireland who volunteers with animal rescue groups. in the home.

Almost all 26 million residents in ShanghaiChina’s largest city and financial hub, is locked in a big test of the country’s pandemic zero-tolerance strategy, which seeks to minimize cases through border closures, mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine. On Friday, the city reported a record 21,000 new cases, most of which were asymptomatic.

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Locks ban people from leaving controlled compounds and sometimes even their apartments, and the government has not said whether that applies to pets as well. Chapman said the final decision rests with each compound.

Some communities have agreed to make an exception for dog walking, but others have refused or left the rules ambiguous, meaning dogs in some parts of the city have been kept in the wild. home for almost two weeks.

“It’s all down to luck and your community committee’s level of understanding, which is really unfair to the dogs,” says Chapman.

Unable to go for a walk while Shanghai was closed, dogs like Anjo, a 2-year-old Pomeranian hybrid, had to work indoors.
Unable to go for a walk while Shanghai was closed, dogs like Anjo, a 2-year-old Pomeranian hybrid, had to work indoors.Polite Dani Chapman

Pet owners trying to follow the rules are doing their best to simulate the outdoors, which works better for some dogs than others. Like Chapman, Kyle Chen partially covers his balcony with leaves and grass for his 4-year-old pet dog, Kaka. The dog doesn’t have it.

As a last resort, Chen began to walk Kaka secretly when no one was around, usually early in the morning or late at night.

“I’ve run out of means,” he said, adding that their sneaky walk had been approved by the anti-epidemic code enforcer on his property.

Shanghai residents confined to their homes have complained of difficulties getting food and medical care, concerns that pet owners say can also affect animals. The lockdowns were initially set to last for just five days, and many were unprepared for them to be extended when testing discovered new cases. Panic-buying, store closures, and lack of delivery workers have some owners worried about what their pets will eat.

“It is very difficult to find pet food,” says Chapman. “Delivery drivers and pet stores are few, but those that are still open deliver non-stop deliveries.”

Others worry their pets won’t be able to get veterinary care because many animal hospitals are closed.

“What if something urgent happens, who else can come to our aid?” Ashley Huang, who has a 3-year-old Shetland sheepdog named Dundun.

Another issue that worries pet owners is what will happen if they or someone they know tests positive for the virus. According to Chinese government policy, Covid-19 patients and their close relatives are sent to centralized isolation facilities, while those with more severe symptoms must be hospitalized. But it’s not clear what happens to their pets.

Chen said he couldn’t imagine being separated from Kaka if he was infected.

“It’s like you’re letting your 4-year-old travel alone,” he says.

A simulated outdoor environment doesn't work too well for Kyle Chen's 4-year-old, Kaka.
A simulated outdoor environment doesn’t work too well for Kyle Chen’s 4-year-old, Kaka.
Kyle Chen is polite

During the pandemic, there were reports across China of pets being killed in the name of virus prevention after their owners were placed in quarantine or quarantine, sparking an outcry among the public. The country’s growing devoted pet owners. This week, a video widely shared online showed an anti-epidemic worker in Shanghai beating a corgi to death on the street after its owner tested positive for Covid and was taken away.

After watching the video, “who wouldn’t start to worry about what their pets would suffer if they tested positive?” Huang said.

The incident is similar to the one that happened in Jiangxi province in November, when a woman shared a video from a home security camera of two anti-epidemic workers beating her corgi to death while she was in quarantine. .

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is little risk of animals spreading the virus to humans.

In contrast, the southern city of Shenzhen, recently went through a week-long lockdown, has set up China’s first “pet cabin,” a roughly 16,000-square-foot space that can accommodate around 300 pets for free to ease the worries of owners who are under quarantine or quarantine. Shanghai residents have called on the government to set up something similar.

Chen said there would be less panic if the government made clear agreements.

“Because we will have peace of mind knowing how our pets will be treated,” he said.

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