And unseen COVID-19 impact on MILLIONS OF STREET DOGS in India

San Francisco, California, June 16th, 2021 – With the new announcement of the CDC ban of dogs from India, starting July 14th, because of the concern of rabies in the United States, the human/street dog conflict in India will only continue to escalate. During the second wave in India, one of incomprehensible devastation to humans, not only impacted people, but in addition dozens of millions of street dogs. This issue is one of the unseen negative impacts of Covid-19 on the country, including risk of human rabies deaths.

“Following the CDC Ban, we agree, rabies is an issue and no country needs more zoonotic diseases especially during this pandemic. But, this ban will not resolve the rabies situation in the 113 countries listed. Dogs and humans will continue to die, and rabies will remain on the WHO neglected zoonotic disease list.Deb Jarrett, Founder and Executive Director of Dharamsala Animal Rescue

35 – 40 million Street Dogs – Hundreds of Animal Welfare Organizations

Everyone who has visited India has noticed the uncountable population of street animals, many in poor condition, and tolerated in varying degrees by the people. India’s street dog population is estimated to be between 35–40 million and accounts for the highest number of human rabies deaths in the world  – approximately 20,000 people annually. Dharamsala Animal Rescue (DAR) is one of the animal welfare organizations working tirelessly to improve conditions for street dogs, aiming to eliminate human/street dog conflict by vaccinating dogs against rabies and educating locals on post bite protocols. There is no cure for rabies once symptoms appear.

“Our shelter is overrun with dogs we cannot put back on the street and no one will adopt locally. With VISA suspension since March 2020, and now this CDC ban, international adoption is out of the equation. Overcrowded shelters, Covid lockdowns and curfews, impair our ability to run our sterilization and vaccination programs effectively.” Deb Jarrett

Lockdown Makes Street Animals Starve

As stated by SPCA International, the lockdowns are creating a difficult situation for animals. “In India, animals that used to depend on restaurants and other businesses for garbage are struggling to find food.” As a result, the community dogs are increasingly hungry, which leads to more dog fights over resources. Rescuers must organize feeding rounds for the stray communities not only to alleviate hunger but also to prevent potential aggression towards humans.

Dharamsala Animal Rescue stands up today with every animal healthcare worker in India who deals with rabies on a weekly basis and asks the international community to offer resources and support. Help those who are working in the shadow of animal welfare work to eradicate rabies from the planet. As we are saying about Covid, “We are only safe if everyone is safe”.


Dharamsala Animal Rescue’s mission is to help resolve the human/street dog conflict in Dharamsala by providing several key programs: rabies vaccination, spay/neuter, street animal feeding, street animal rescue, local adoption, and community education. Registered in the US as 501(c)(3) charity and founded in 2008, DAR received the World Rabies Day 2019 Asia Award and has been a recipient of the SPCA International’s Shelter Support Fund since 2015. 

Source: Deb Jarrett, Piyara Kutta Inc. dba Dharamsala Animal Rescue,