A woman carries a dog along the empty Nanjing Road Shopping Street near the outskirts of the affected area during a lockdown in Shanghai on March 31, 2022.
Kilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The citywide lockdown in Shanghai, China’s worst coronavirus outbreak in two years, is so severe that even some dogs can’t get out. So their owners are bringing outdoor for them.
Anjo, for a 2-year-old Pomeranian mix, means a small patch of leaves and grass that Danny Chapman has gathered on his porch as he watches the dog for a friend in quarantine.
“We’ve had to come up with really creative ways to encourage dogs to use the bathroom inside,” said Chapman, 32, an English teacher in Ireland who volunteered with the animal rescue group.
About 26 million residents of Shanghai, China’s largest city and financial center, are locked down in a major test of the country’s zero-tolerance epidemic strategy, which seeks to reduce lawsuits through border closures, mass checks, communications searches and segregation. On Friday, the city reported a record 21,000 new cases, almost all of them asymptomatic.
The lockdown prevents residents from leaving their gated compounds and sometimes even their apartments, and the government has not said whether this applies to pets. The final decision rests with each compound, Chapman said.
Some communities have agreed to make an exception for dog walking but others have refused or obscured the rules, meaning dogs have been kept indoors for about two weeks in some parts of the city.
“It’s just a matter of fate and how much your community committee understands, which isn’t really fair to dogs,” Chapman said.
Pet owners are trying to follow the rules they are trying their best to imitate on the outside, which works better for some dogs than others. Like Chapman, Kyle Chen covered parts of his porch with leaves and grass for Kakar, his 4-year-old snoozer. Dog it wasn’t.
As a last resort, Chen started walking Kaka secretly when there was no one around, usually very early in the morning or late at night.
“I’ve finished all the way,” he said, adding that their confidential steps had been approved by anti-epidemic law enforcement in his compound.
Residents of Shanghai have complained of limited food and medical care in their homes, with concern pet owners saying the animals have also been stretched. The lockdowns originally lasted only five days and many people were unprepared to extend them due to new cases appearing in the tests. Panicked shopping, store closures and a lack of delivery staff make some owners worried about what their pets will eat.
Others worry that their pets will be unable to take care of veterinarians because many veterinary hospitals are closed.
“If something urgent happens, who else can come to our aid?” Says Ashley Huang, who owns a 3-year-old Shetland Aries dog named Dundun.
Another problem that plagues pet owners is what happens if they or someone they know test positive for the virus. According to Chinese government policy, Kovid-19 patients and their close acquaintances are sent to centralized quarantine facilities, while those with more severe symptoms are hospitalized. But it is not clear what will happen to their pets.
Chen said he could not imagine being separated from Kakar if he became infected.
“It’s like you’re letting your 4-year-old travel alone,” he said.
A simulated outdoor environment didn’t work so well for Kyle Chen’s 4-year-old snooker, Kakar. Courtesy Kyle Chen
Throughout the epidemic, pets across China have been reported to be killed in the name of virus prevention after their owners have been isolated or quarantined, causing an uproar among the country’s growing army of dedicated pet owners. This week, a video widely shared online showed an anti-epidemic activist in Shanghai beating a corgi to death on the street after taking away his covid-positive owner.
After watching the video, “Who wouldn’t want to worry about what would happen if their pets tested positive?” Huang said.
The incident was similar to one in Jiangsu Province in November, when a woman shared video from a home security camera while two anti-epidemic activists beat her corgi while she was in quarantine.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of the virus spreading to humans is low.
In contrast, the southern city of Shenzhen, which recently went through a week-long lockdown, has set up China’s first “pet cabin”, a 16,000-square-foot space that can accommodate up to 300 pets for free, reducing owners’ worries. Isolation or quarantine. Residents of Shanghai have appealed to the government to establish something similar.
Chen said there would be less panic if the government made the measures crystal clear.
“Because we’re safe about how we treat our pets,” he said.