Animal shelters began the preparations for the arrival of new litters of both kittens and puppies along with abandoned animals back in February when the COVID-19 outbreak was just around the corner. They hurried to empty the kennels that were filled with adoptable and healthy cats and dogs to avoid resorting to euthanasia.
It was from the 15th of March to the end of the month when the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals noticed that more than 600 people had filled the online foster applications in New York City and Los Angeles programs alone. When comparing with the same period in 2019, the ASPCA has observed around 70% of a spike in animals going under foster care.
However, according to Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC), even though it is great news, the officers are continuing the rescue of animals, and hence, several more are yet to come to the shelter. Furthermore, considering the early spring marks the beginning of kitten and puppy seasons where they will reproduce in large numbers, it is important to empty out the kennels for the future population of litter.
On a normal day, pet shelters and control officers will ensure that these homeless animals are trapped and sterilized to avoid overpopulation. These animals are not put up for adoption unless they are neutered or spayed. However, at the time of the coronavirus outbreak, all the neutering and spaying procedures have been halted. This prevents the rescues from receiving surgical veterinary care and any other mandatory tests before fostering.
With millions of Americans unemployed, the shelter directors also fear the surge of pet owners abandoning their pets as they can no longer care for them. This also comes with the fear that felines are susceptible to the virus and may spread it to the pet owner, which is False. According to the researchers in China, cats can only spread this infection to another cat and not to their human counterpart.
To help prevent abandonment, the majority of shelters in the country are providing the necessary food and supplies for the foster families to take care of their pets. The ASPCA has provided around 9,000 pets with food at its distribution centres across the country and is expected to serve 100,000 pets by the mid of June.
The best possible way to help pet shelters in achieving this target is by raising money via donations, fundraisers, and crowdfunding.
Adopting a pet from a local shelter
With the latest news about cats getting infected with the coronavirus, people have several questions surrounding pets and COVID-19. In fact, they have started to wonder if it is actually safe to adopt a pet during these times.
When speaking of cats and coronavirus, there have been a few reports of pet cats getting infected. Despite such cases surfacing, it is worth noting that there is not a single case of the pet cat infecting a human with the virus. In fact, all the existing cases have indicated that the infected pet owner is more likely to spread the infection to their pet cat. As for dogs and coronavirus, there has been no indication that the virus can infect the pet in any way.
Hence, it is absolutely safe for you to adopt a pet at such times.
To begin the process of adoption, be sure to check out your local animal shelter to find out whether they need your help before you try elsewhere. You can find several animal shelters having their adoption drives online, making it much easier for you to fill out the application for adoption. Several are even live-streaming adoptable animals and hosting Skype meet-and-greets to help ease the process.
Donating money or supplies
To make the process smoother, animal shelters are providing foster parents with food and essential supplies. In order to carry out these efforts in the long run and to avoid euthanizing to control the population, the shelters are trying to make the whole process easier by introducing curbside adoption as well.
However, if you can’t adopt, you can still contribute by providing shelter supplies and donations. You can also either donate to an organization that is already raising funds or you can start your own fundraiser. Irrespective of the mode of your contribution, the animal shelters need your help now more than ever.
Your donations need not be limited to money. Animal shelters and other organizations are accepting donations in the form of supplies such as food and treats. This will help people keep their pets until they get their jobs back.
A shelter at home for the local pets
It is imperative to understand that your responsibilities do not end at adopting or fostering a pet from a local shelter. In fact, shelter care begins right from that moment, considering you need to take the necessary precautions at home. These include, but are not limited to, keeping your cat indoors, and practicing good hand hygiene.
Some dos and don’ts are:
- Wash your hands before and after petting.
- Restrict contact of your pet with other pets.
- Pet-proof your home to avoid unforeseen escape.
- Seek help if you find it difficult to take care of your pet.
- Avoid kissing your pet.
- Do not put a mask on your pet as it can restrict their breathing.
- Do not allow it to lick you.
- Avoid unnecessary touching if you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms.
- Do not abandon your companion.
Start an online campaign to support the shelter or support them through crowdfunding platforms
If you want to start your own fundraiser to support the animal shelters in your locality, you can take the campaign online. You can raise the funds and release them to your nearest shelter on a weekly if not on a monthly basis.
However, if you believe your support will be ideal via existing platforms, you can choose to donate funds to the various crowdfunding platforms. These platforms are raising money to support the animal shelters as well as the vulnerable population of pet owners in the country.
Considering the lack of veterinary services for the animal shelters that do not have in-house vets, it is imperative that you get your pet vetted at your local vet. If you are wondering- how to find the best vet near me then Veterinarian Directories like Great Vet can help you. You can find your nearest vet on the website of GreatVet by simply choosing the city of your residence and entering your zip code. For example – for a list of Veterinarians in Chicago just enter the zip code and the website will list out all the best and top-rated vets in your area to get the much needed veterinary services.