Swiss animal authority warns against putting masks on pets

Swiss animal authority warns against putting masks on pets
A man poses with his mask-wearing dog. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
An animal protection association in Zurich has criticised pet owners putting coronavirus masks on their dogs or cats.

The Katzenheim Schnurrli Foundation in Zurich launched a campaign in early August to stop pet owners covering the mouths of their dogs and cats with coronavirus masks. 

Under the moniker “No masks for animals – this is cruelty!” the foundation said that pet owners should use their common sense. 

Claudia Hitz, managing director of the Katzenheim Schnurrli Foundation, told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes that many pet owners in Switzerland thought putting masks on their animals may protect them from the virus.

“The panic and uncertainty due to the corona virus is great in the population,” Hitz said. 

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new compulsory mask requirement 

“We suspect that the owners believe they are protecting the animal from infection.”

She said the foundation had received several calls from animal lovers “asking whether or not it was OK to put masks on the animals”. 

A spokesperson for the Animal Law Foundation told 20 Minutes “masks can cause significant stress in animals, cause shortness of breath and panic.” 

“Masks endanger animal welfare. Whoever forces such a thing on them acts cruelly.”

While dogs and cats can contract coronavirus, the risk of catching the virus is lower than in humans, as is the mortality rate. 

Masks have been compulsory on public transport for people in Switzerland since July 6th. 


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