Lebanon has already had a dog abandonment problem for some time. They have an estimated 50,000 abandoned dogs on the streets. We also recently shared the story of “Uncle” Mahmoud who takes care of abandoned dogs on his property until they can be fostered or adopted. In the last four months, he and shelters in Lebanon started getting an influx of abandoned animals. The pandemic caused inflation and many people were unable to care for their pets anymore. Unfortunately, the situation has only gotten worse with the misinformation that pets can transmit the virus.

A report on Lebanese TV falsely claimed that cats and dogs could transmit the virus. However, health experts have said there is no evidence that pets can catch or transmit coronavirus.

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Since the report, though, dogs have been poisoned and left to die on the streets. There was footage online of dogs foaming at the mouth and suffering after being poisoned.

Animal rights activist Paola Rebeiz told MailOnline: “MTV asked a doctor in Belgium about the cat who caught Covid-19 – not even a vet – who conveyed that pets can carry corona and contaminate people. It led to murders and abandonments galore. So far it looks just like people are doing this, but we are hearing that municipalities are also rounding up strays to kill them.”

Because of this horrible reaction, health workers are “driving around an upmarket Beirut neighbourhood with a megaphone declaring that cats and dogs do not spread the virus,” but not around the country where people still need to understand this so they can stop abandoning and poisoning their dogs.

If you live in Lebanon, please consider adopting from NGO Carma, Animals Lebanon, or reaching out to “Uncle” Mahmoud to see how you can help. Wherever you live in the world, you should certainly consider fostering or adopting. Shelters and rescue centers are more overwhelmed than ever. You can also donate to your local shelter.

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Sign this petition pledging to help animal shelters during these scary times.

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