Stray feeding program in danger of shutting down, calls for help

Anna Gabrielle Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2020 05:45 PM


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MANILA -- When the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced parts of the nation to lockdown, a silent population felt the bite. 

The mass closure of most food establishments and the reduced footfall resulting from the stay home order deprived hungry stray animals the only source of food their stomachs rely on — kind strangers and leftover meal scraps. 

Thankfully, animal welfare groups such as Pawssion Project stepped up and answered the silent pleas of homeless dogs and cats through its "Stray Feeding Program."

“What started as a small initiative of feeding around 10 strays, that vendor fed when the quarantine started, has reached day 50 and has covered many areas in the Philippines,” it said.

The group said the program feeds over 500 strays daily. 

“A lot of people inspired to help people to help strays in their own way are the miracles we are grateful for everyday,” Pawssion Project said.

After the triumphant stretch of nearly two months, supplies and allowance for their stray feeders can only last for another week, Pawssion Project unfortunately said.

“As much as we would like to continue our stray feeding program, it is becoming a lot more difficult now, not just because of monetary constraints but some of our stray feeders will go back to their duties before the ECQ was enacted,” it said.

The animal welfare group is calling for more donations to help sustain the program and the families of the feeders as well. 

“Supplies alone cost around P5,000 to P10,000 per feeder every week, depending on the number of strays in the area. The feeder gets a personal allowance of P300 per day,” it said.

At present, Pawssion Project said they are left with merely eight volunteers who will continue operating in the Bacolod City, Pasig City, Quezon City, Taguig City, Illoilo City, and Cebu City.

Aside from satisfying hungry bellies, however, Pawssion Project also aims to create a “better environment” for stray animals.

“Let us all work to separate the word ‘unwanted’ when talking about strays. And with your help we can eliminate all the negative connotations about them,” it said. 

It continued: “Trust us when we say they are no different compared to ‘house pets.’ Our country will gave a healthier and kinder community if everyone realizes this.” 

Pawssion Project said the public can also provide assistance by helping them find permanent or foster homes for their recovering rescues.

“The faster we get them out of the vet clinics, the less accrued vet bills. We will be able to allocate our resources towards other initiatives,” it said.

Pawssion Project was founded aiming to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome strays. 

Aside from supporting their feeding program, the group welcomes funding to finance their operational expenses, pay off pending vet bills of rescued strays, create additional shelters nationwide, and shelter maintenance and enhancements.

When the crisis is over, and the world eases to go back to the "new normal," these voiceless victims, will remain where they were long before the lockdown began, in the streets — fighting for their lives. 

While feeding the animals who call the street their home may help them live another day is a great feat, it is merely a Band-Aid solution.

Every animal advocate knows, the best way to save a stray, who lived its entire life battling for survival, is giving them the comfort of a loving home.

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