CHENNAI: Many residents of Chennai have opened their doors to stray dogs of their neighbourhood to provide them shelter in the midst of the cyclone. They say that without shelter, the cyclone will pose a severe threat to the animals' lives.
Vignesh Sukumar, a resident of Thiruverkadu, said that two months ago, a litter of 13 puppies succumbed to a single episode of rain. So when he learned of the cyclone, he immediately opened his door for stray dogs.
"So far, six stray dogs have found shelter in my house during the cyclone. They are very scared and they are only sleeping in a corner," he said. Sukumar, who is a medical trainee at Animal Aid Unlimited, already housed about 14 dogs.
He said that people are often concerned about letting unclean dogs enter their houses. "A few dogs are rabid or have other diseases. This is a wrong perception that all street dogs are infectious," he said.
Yoga Lakshmi, who lives in Avadi, said that heavy rains are very hard on stray dogs. She has allowed three strays to take refuge. "During heavy rains, there are many roadblocks and stagnations. Even if dogs want to get to a safer place, they get blocked out," she said, adding that often residents and shop keepers chase dogs that seek shelter leaving them with very few places to go.
Lakhsmi said that staying under trees or open spaces is also very risky for the animals.
M Mahesh, who owns a lorry repair workshop, said that about 10 stray dogs in the neighbourhood have taken shelter in his workshop. He said that without shelter these dogs might have to struggle on the streets."They only seek temporary shelter. They themselves go away after the weather gets better. There is no need to worry about having to care for them long term," he said, requesting other Chennai residents to shelter and feed stray dogs during the cyclone and other rainy days.