Animals Asia is assisting cats and dogs left hungry and roaming the streets after the recent earthquake in Sichuan province, China.
The earthquake, which happened at 8am Saturday morning (20/04/13), was followed by numerous aftershocks - the death toll having been reported as high as 200 with many times more injured and thousands left homeless.
The centre of the earthquake in Ya'an is less than 100 miles from Animals Asia's China bear sanctuary and with rescue workers assisting those affected by the disaster, Animals Asia is keen to use its own expertise and experience to help, as reports of growing numbers of stray and homeless dogs and cats increase.
Animals Asia China Cat and Dog Welfare Manager Suki Deng explained:
"People who are hurt, rescued or moved to safe areas or temporary shelters have, in many cases, become separated from their pets. The pets left behind frequently have no access to clean water or food and have to resort to scavenging. Picking their way through rubbish or even eating other animal bodies can mean diseases, such as rabies, and can spread quickly. In previous such situations some departments have resorted to animal culls which is a situation we, and the authorities in Ya'an are endeavouring to prevent."
Against this backdrop Animals Asia is working with partners in Ya'an to ensure they have the facilities required to rescue stray pets, house them for as long as it takes and provide vaccinations as required. It's hoped that by providing a swift response to the issue of increased strays there will be no spread of disease and authorities feel able to leave the matter in the hands of local animal shelters, vets and volunteers.
Throughout this process, Animals Asia is keeping local government informed, ensuring they are aware of the efforts of this animal welfare and rescue partnership.
Those assisting include animal protection organisation Qiming Animal Protection Center, Chengdu Home of Love and Ya'an Animal Protection Centre with assistance from Ya'an Vet School, Chongqing Small Animal Protection and Xi'an Hongshiliu Animal Protection Center.
Animals Asia is providing medicines, tents, cages, bowls, leashes, vaccines, pet food and water to assist in rescuing and treating the many homeless pets. In addition, online networks are being used to advise pet owners of how best to care for their pets under the current circumstances, as well as for reaching out to others who can assist.
Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson added:
"It's hard for the outside world to begin to fathom how dramatically life changed for so many people here from 8am on Saturday morning when that first earthquake hit. As part of this community and as campaigners for animal welfare, it is vital that we play our part using the expertise and experience we have available. Our role is to ensure that, as far as pets are concerned, the authorities realise they have one less problem to worry about and they can continue to focus all their energies accordingly."