KUALA LUMPUR – April 17, 2020: Like most non-essential businesses, pet shops have been hit hard by Covid-19 induced partial lockdown so much so that some had to take drastic measures to ensure the survival of the animals under their care.
In Kota Damansara, one store has, since April 4, been giving out rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs for free due to unintentional and inevitable lack of care stemming from the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO).
“These animals, they’re supposed to be fed twice a day. Once in day and once at night. We can only come to the shop from 10 AM to 4 PM. So, they get fed only once a day, which is not good,” said a Hyper Pets Centre staff who requested anonymity.
Such was so, the staff added, because the said critters, especially the hamsters, will get cranky and fight among themselves when they’re hungry.
Malaysia started enforcing the movement control order (MCO) on March 18 in which operational leeway was only given to selected sectors and industries that were deemed essential for the country.
Some pet stores, such as Hyper Pets, upon application to the authorities, were given restricted leeway in which they can only open shop on Monday and Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm.
“For now, we have already given out all of our rabbits and guinea pigs. All that’s left are the hamsters. We have to give them away to animal lovers because that is the only way for them to survive in these trying times,” said the staff.
Apart from rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, Hyper Pets is also selling its other animals that are in a similar predicament – but can still cope with being fed once a day – at a “very discounted price”.
These animals include white-faced sugar gliders (RM130), lop eared rabbits (RM50), degus (RM40), gerbils (RM30) and hedgehogs (RM45).
But not every pet shop opted Hyper Pets’ approach. In fact, some, particularly those that also provided pet boarding services had gained notoriety on social media for taking a more controversial course of action.
For example, a pet shop in Taman Perling, Johor Baru courted intense flak when it put up a for-adoption notice on Facebook for several boarded cats which will ultimately be euthanise as their owners could not reclaim them as they were stuck in Singapore due to the MCO.
It was only after the shop landed in hot soup that it clarified the situation.
“Please do not misunderstood us. It was the owners that asked to do so (euthanise the cats). They can’t afford to pay the continuous boarding fee,” read the already deleted clarification by the pet store.
The adoption notice has also been removed and the pet store has yet to respond to inquiries over the fate of the cats.
Those who wish to adopt hamsters from Hyper Pets may contact its staff at the following number: 016-6184925