It’s been more than a month since the total lockdown was imposed and while many of us are struggling to get by, some have been hit by the effects of the pandemic even more since it began – especially those who aren’t able to fend for themselves. As the situation continues to worsen, citizens have rallied up to launch the White Flag Movement to help families in need. In light of that, a new red flag has been introduced under the hashtag #KempenKibarBenderaMerah on social media. So, what is it exactly and how is it different from the White Flag?

The Red Flag Movement – a call for help for pets in need

Started by the Malaysia Animal Association, the movement aims to help families who are finding it hard to feed their pets and prevent them from ending up on the streets. The movement also raises awareness on the number of pet surrenders, dumping and abandonment this country has seen. According to the statement released by the association, this is a result of families not being able to care for their fur kids as they themselves have been affected by the weakened economy and the stress of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of this, their pets are either surrendered or abandoned on the street, at risk of death.

Shelters and rescuers are also experiencing distress

Independent animal shelters and rescuers aren’t having it easier, either. Relying heavily on public donations, the contributions they usually received before the pandemic have been significantly reduced. As people continue to lose jobs or have their salaries cut, it becomes harder and harder for shelters and organizations to sustain themselves. For instance, shelters like A Pets Journal that cares for old and special needs rescues, Meefah Homeless Animal Shelter with about 2,000 dogs, and S.I Home Shelter that houses about 400 cats are surviving month-to-month to feed their animals, pay rent and utility bills as well as acquire medicine for their new and existing pets.

Meefah Homeless Animal Shelter
Photography: Meefah Homeless Animal Shelter

Lily Ong, a volunteer at Meefah Homeless Animal Shelter, explains that the rescues are also saddened by the lack of human interaction as the volunteer visits are kept at a minimum now. Not only that, independent rescuers at Voice For Paws are also in need of pet food as they foster rescues themselves and occasionally feed strays around their neighbourhood.

Voice For Paws
Photography: Voice For Paws

What you can do to help

While we’re still under Full and Enhanced Movement Control Order, you can help these shelters and organizations around you through Scoop Cares. Launched last week as a one-stop CSR initiative under our parent company, JWW Consultancy & Technology Sdn Bhd, you’re able to browse a list of organizations that we support, view their needs and donate to those that are close to your heart. Whether it’s funding or essentials such as food, medicine, beds and even old newspapers, any form of donation right now would be extremely beneficial for these organizations.

If you’d like to volunteer during this period, Meefah Homeless Animal Shelter will even provide a letter for you to travel to its shelter in Semenyih, Selangor. However, please do so with caution and discuss with the members of your household before making your decision. Lastly, do keep a lookout and lend a hand to your neighbours who’ve raised their red flags. Check in and support them by supplying pet food if you’re able to – every little bit helps for these beloved four-legged creatures.

To find out more about Scoop Cares, click here.

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