A popular Auckland pet hotel and daycare has defended itself for being an essential business after it announced they would remain open during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Pets in the City, where pets can stay overnight, was met with both praise and anger after they revealed it would keep its doors open for the next four weeks.
Some branded the company as "greedy" while others pointed out that microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles advised people to keep their pets away from other animals as the coronavirus could spread through their fur.
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However, the managing director and CEO of Pets In The City Greg Main told the Herald that the company had confirmation from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment that they are an essential service.
He said they are looking after a number of pets for customers who are overseas and can't get home.
He added it is open to help those who are working in essential services away from home or those who become too unwell to look after their pets.
Main mentioned one loyal customer who relies on the service as she is an Air New Zealand flight attendant and has no other family to look after her pet.
He also mentioned an elderly customer who contacted the company and said they could look after their animal for now, but were concerned they wouldn't be able to if they we unwell.
"We have consolidated our operation down to one site, Wairau Park, have minimal staff working taking care of pets and have implemented the protocols for a safe working environment in accordance with the guidelines provided. We continue to monitor these and make changes as required," he said.
"We have been working through with MBIE in respect of our operation during the level 4 alert phase and have received confirmation that we are considered an essential service business as we are an 'entity whose closure would jeopardise the maintenance of animal health or welfare standards'.
"During this period, we have animals to care for and people relying on us to provide care for their animals whilst they perform their essential roles. Without our services the safety and health of these pets could potentially be jeopardised."
In a Facebook post, Pets in the City said it changed its check-in and check-out procedures, asking customers to wait outside before being greeted by staff.
They also have a no leash policy as the pet hotel would be using its own leads.
Many were happy about the announcement as some needed their pets to be looked after while they worked during the lockdown.
"As my husband and I both work in confirmed essential services this is a huge relief for us, thank you," one person wrote.
Another added: "You are doing a great job and providing fur babies safety and security."
However, some continued to slam the company for staying open as it causes the potential for the virus to spread through animals.
"If these same essential service roles children can't even go to school or daycare - why can their dogs? This is beyond a joke," one person wrote.
Another added: "As a rescuer, pet lover and human in NZ, I'm disgusted by this. The risk you are taking is terrible, and will just mean we will be under lockdown for longer.
"Dogs do not need to be in daycare. This is just money-making, and immoral."
Animal daycares in Auckland including Barkley Manor, Woodcote Farms Boarding Kennels & Cattery, Central Bark, Good Dog Training and DogHQ have decided to remain close during the lockdown.