Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many shelters have been struggling to continue caring for their animals and keeping their organization operational while also doing their best to keep their staff and volunteers safe.
Mandatory quarantine and the need to maintain social distancing also has them working with a very limited number of people, so you can only imagine how difficult it is for a lot of them to keep themselves afloat during this time.
Our local shelters, rescues, and animal welfare organizations need us now more than ever—homeless animals need us now more than ever. Let’s work together and share whatever resources that we can to ensure not only the functionality of these establishments but also the safety and well-being of the animals and the people working tirelessly behind the scenes.
Read on to find out how you can help your local animal shelter or rescue during this very trying time.
Adopt or Foster
First of all, in case you’re concerned about getting COVID-19 from a shelter dog or cat: no, companion animals aren’t considered a threat to public safety.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that there’s no evidence at this time that companion animals can spread COVID-19. Additionally, according to the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) Global Veterinary Community, there’s no evidence that pets can become infected nor transmit the virus to humans. So, there’s no need to be afraid of adopting or fostering a shelter animal.
One of the biggest problems that shelters are facing right now, aside from the possibility of getting shut down, is finding temporary or permanent homes for their animals to lessen the number of people needed to work on-site. If you’re open to adopting or fostering, don’t hesitate to contact your local shelter and let them know. It would be a huge help!
For the safety of everyone, most animal welfare organizations don’t allow walk-ins and strictly allow animal pickups by appointment only. If you’re planning to open your home to a shelter animal, make sure to phone in ahead of time.
To minimize foot traffic, most shelters only allow car-side pickups, meaning those without a private vehicle won’t be able to go to the shelter without risking their safety. If you have a car and some time to spare, you can offer to pick animals up and transport them to their fosters or adopters.
Of course, it’s important to protect yourself when doing animal transports by wearing a disposable facemask and a pair of gloves. Once you get home, dispose of your facemask and gloves, wash your hands, remove your shoes, and change out of your clothing before touching indoor furniture or family members.
Yes, some animal welfare organizations still allow people to volunteer! Since many of them are now moving operational tasks online, such as answering calls/emails and setting appointments, you can now help out in the safety of your own home. Austin Pets Alive! is one of the organizations that are currently allowing at-home volunteering. If you want to learn more, click here.
Donations, monetary or otherwise, are badly needed at this time, not only by shelters but by pet owners, fosters, and recent adopters. A lot of people are currently out of jobs because of quarantine and without the funds to even pay for their own needs, you can only imagine how difficult it’s going to be for them to continue providing for their pets.
One way that you can help keep pets in their homes is to offer financial support or pet supplies, like pet food, treats, toys, cat litter, puppy pads, or crates/kennels. If you’re willing to donate, you can contact your local animal shelter and schedule a drop-off. If you don’t have a vehicle, you can try asking them if they do at-home pickups for donations.
We can’t forget about sharing! Use your social media to spread the word about the issues that animal welfare organizations are currently facing and let people know about the different ways that they can help. After all, sharing is caring!