NGOs and animal welfare advocates across the city claim that the festival becomes a nightmare for stray animals.
People for Animal, an animal rescue NGO, said that more people have shown disregard and violated animals in the name of celebration. “If we look at the incidents of dogs brought to clinics and pet centers, there are so many of them, hundreds of them being affected by Holi colors and throwing balloons.” Dr. Nawaz Sharif, General Manager, People for Animal (PFA), said.
Most colors contain sodium sulfate and metals, exposing animals to skin diseases and eye injuries. Dr. Joshua, Veterinary Doctor, I-Vet Pet Clinic, said, “There are different colors like the chalk-based one that causes a lot of irritation. Colors stick to body hair, and they lick them. It causes severe vomiting in dogs as dogs and other animals can’t wash them easily like we humans do.” The doctor added that though the sale of natural colors has increased, there are also reported cases of animals facing respiratory issues due to the inhalation of colored powders.
“Holi is one of those times when we are quite careful about where we let our dogs roam around or go for a walk because colors that people use are chemical intensive and easily cause irritation, and these dogs lick them. And treating these irritations and skin issues is not easy to foot. It’s a long process – not like (taking) five days of anti-biotics (and) process done,” said Rishika Menon, Pet Owner.
Animal rights activists and NGOs are trying to raise awareness among citizens by sharing posters, sending notices to apartments, and through social media posts.