An army of animal lovers has taken to India's streets to feed millions of strays dogs and cattle left to starve amid the coronavirus pandemic, but say there is 'never enough' food to go round.

Strays used to scavenging scraps from hotels, restaurants and roadside stalls were abandoned following the country's stay-at-home order imposed on March 24.

Around 30 million dogs and five million cattle now roam across India's usually bustling streets, weaving in and out of traffic and sheltering under highway overpasses during the scorching afternoons as they fend for themselves.

Priyanka Gusain is one of an army of activists bringing food to the animals in her spare time, along with her mother Vilochna.

Dressed in personal protective equipment including a face mask and gloves, she brings sacks of cattle fodder, dog pellets and water for her evening feeding rounds in Delhi.

The activist also lays down grass for cows and horses, otherwise left to fend for themselves. Gusain said: 'No-one is taking care of them. That thought made me do all of this.'

Animal activists have pressed local authorities to issue 'feeding passes' that will allow them outside to help the animals at risk.

Many launched online campaigns to raise funds and set up WhatsApp chat groups to coordinate feeding runs.

The mercy missions from animal lovers are not universally popular, though. Gusain, who obtained a pass through a Delhi shelter organisation, has faced pushback from people who say: 'You are doing so much for dogs, what about humans?'

Even working animals have become casualties. With tourism and mining having ground to a halt, horses, donkeys and ponies were being 'thrown out left, right and centre', said Gauri Maulekhi of People for Animals India. Stray cattle, left to roam the streets by their owners or abandoned when they get old, are also struggling to survive.

'If there are a hundred mouths to feed, we are perhaps able to feed only 10. There is never enough. There is a huge shortage,' Mauleki added.

In the southern city of Chennai, Vinod Kumar from animal welfare charity Blue Cross of India said the situation was desperate.

'In many cases, the dogs... in places where there are not many residences, they actually starve,' he said.

Several shelters said people are also abandoning pets in fear they could contract and spread the virus to human owners.

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