By: Michelle Poirier
The Georgina Animal Shelter and Adoption Centre is closed to the public due to COVID-19, but staff are still working to make sure lost animals are returned to their owners, or strays find their forever homes.
The shelter has come up with new ways to complete adoptions by posting the animals online so that potential adopters can see pictures and videos of the animals. They can complete their adoption forms online and pay the adoption fees over the phone, Anne Winstanley, Communications Supervisor, Office of the CAO for the Town of Georgina, said in an email.
“For cats, these changes mean the animals will likely meet their adopters for the first time in their new home. Dogs are more complex, and an in-person meet is often more critical. Proper precautions are taken, and PPE is worn when any in-person meetings take place that cannot accommodate social distancing,” she said.
Found animals are posted to the shelter’s Facebook page to try and reunite them with their owners.
Animals that were in the shelter’s care before the pandemic have been placed into adoptive homes, foster homes or transferred to other organizations for foster placements.
No animals in the care of the animal shelter have been euthanized due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or the changes in the facility, Ms. Wistanly said.
The center has implemented safety procedures to keep staff and residents protected against COVID-19. Anything the staff can do remotely is done by phone or email, but there are instances that distancing is not possible.
Animal claims and adoptions will be by appointment only and must be arranged beforehand by phone or email.
Curbside pickup, with enclosures outside the shelter, will be used to return pets to their owners, and staff have access to disinfectants and PPE, which will be used when distancing is impossible.
Staff are also screened daily before the start of their shift, Ms. Winstanley said.
During this time, the shelter is not accepting any material donations, but monetary donations can be made over the phone.
The shelter is not bringing in stray animals. Still, you can call the shelter if you find a stray dog. But the shelter will not accept animals for surrender, but rather provide support and recommendations, ” said Mrs. Winstanley.
The Centres for Disease Control website states there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus. Still, they do suggest keeping your pets indoors or distanced from others and if you are sick to avoid getting too close, and have a family member watch your pet.
It is critical to have a plan in place for your pet should you get sick and need to be hospitalized.
Ms. Winstanley recommends you identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if someone in the household becomes ill; have crates, food and extra supplies on hand, keep all animal vaccines up to date and proof of vaccination, ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions, and all pets should have a collar with ID tag and microchip.
She also recommends that you maintain physical distancing when walking your dog.
“Residents are reminded to be diligent in practicing social distancing with one another and their pets. This means not having playdates or off-leash romps with dogs from other households or interacting with someone else’s dog while on a walk. Keep your cats inside and remember to keep your dogs leashed at all times when outside,” Ms. Winstanley said.