Maddie's Pet Forum Admin
Posted March 11, 2020 at 03:52 PM Under "Disaster Relief"
Coronavirus Safety Measures?

With almost every media outlet discussing the outbreak of COVID-19, what precautions or safety measures are you and your organization taking to keep staff, volunteers, pets and community members safe?

Please share any concerns you have, tips or useful information that could help others!

  • Yesterday at 10:53 AM

    The common wisdom is that pets cannot transfer the virus to humans and there's no confirmed source. However, it's likely that infected people can transfer it on to the animal's fur. When walking and I see a dog or cat, I generally ask permission to pat the animal (if an owner is present); now, I won't touch the animal under any circumstance. I wash before I touch my own. I'm symptom free, but one never knows.

  • March 22, 2020 at 07:10 AM

    I haven't read all the replies, so this may be a duplicate. I received this info from Bissell Pet Foundation about how they are assisting the nation's shelters.

    https://mailchi.mp/bissell/feed-the-shelters-1190609?e=9d15db61a1

  • March 15, 2020 at 10:10 AM

    Our local humane society has posted this:

    OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

    Due to the Corona Virus (Covid-19) we are open to the public by appointment only. We serve an important public function and we want to make sure our staff stays healthy and that we can continue to help people and their pets.

    To make an appointment to:
    • Get a rabies vaccine (waiving income requirements)
    • Make Pet Care Assistance appointment with our vet or get pet food (income requirements in place, please apply online)
    • Meet our adoptable animals
    • Surrender an animal
    • Bring in a stray animal

    Please call 802-254-2232
    Or email info@windhamcountyhumane.org

    If you are feeling unwell, please stay home.

    Thank you everyone for your understanding and please, take care of yourselves and each other.

  • March 12, 2020 at 09:33 PM

    It's really hard to plan for the unknown- and there is so much that is unknown about this situation and how it may play out. Some things we are considering and planning for if the need arises:

    • Shortage of PPE- We've fortunately stocked up on PPE (gloves, gowns, and etc). A long term shortage would be very problematic though. The use of PPE helps us prevent the spread of pathogens between animals in the shelter.
    • Shortage of hand sanitizer/soap- We are currently decently stocked but a drawn-out crisis could be problematic. Having these items on hand for customers and staff to disinfect themselves before and after animal interaction is important. It is also important in mitigating the spread of Covid-19 and other ailments in our community.
    • Misinformation/Panic by the public- There is still a lot unknown, especially regarding whether or not animals can be infected or environmentally contaminated. Considering working with veterinary professionals and health professionals to create PSAs based on up to date science facts to educate worried pet owners. The last thing we want to see are misinformed owners trying to surrender or abandon their pets due to hysteria.
    • Educating Staff about the Coronavirus- Asking them not to come into work if they are experiencing symptoms that may be related to Coronavirus. We have put up CDC information posters about Coronavirus throughout our facility along with a WHO diagram on proper hand-washing techniques at all sinks.
    • Canceled Events- We've already had several events canceled that we were set to participate in and we are discussing canceling some events we have during the rest of this month and next month. Instead, we are considering doing live broadcasts on Facebook/youtube in place of some of those events.
    • Possible decrease in adoptions- We are considering running several low-cost adoption events before this spirals out of control locally (hoping it doesn't) but trying to get some animals out before things potentially hit the fan is something we want to try to do really hard. The timing of this couldn't be worse- it's almost puppy and kitten season. For an open-intake shelter, this feels like a possible oncoming disaster.
    • Local community spread precautions and limiting staff/animal exposure- we are discussing moving to an appointment-based adoption process if community spread begins in our area. This would allow us to limit the number of people in the shelter to a manageable number and allow us to disinfect/decontaminate after each visit. We would also allow redemptions to be done remotely (we already list all strays on our website) so if an individual is ill but they can prove ownership a third party can pick up that animal for them.
    • Animals brought in from ill owners- we are considering developing an isolation protocol for any animals brought in due to owners needing hospitalization. While the animal may not become infected itself there still may be some environmental contamination. We are going to flesh this out more through discussions with veterinary experts and public health officials.
    • Worst-case scenario- the hardest part for us is developing a plan of action in the instance a staff member or a member of the public who has visited the shelter is diagnosed with the Coronavirus. How do you self quarantine your staff if there are animals that are requiring care? This would be a nightmare scenario. We are discussing potentially ending animal control intake with our municipal partners if this scenario comes to pass and trying to figure out the best way to disinfect the facility and have a skeleton staff on hand to care for animals.

    Hopefully, most of these don't come to pass- though I fear with all the hysteria that adoptions may drop off which would be devastating. The CDC website is a great source of information for organizations developing policy: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html. I have also attached some posters from the CDC we recently put up in our facility to inform our staff more about the situation.

    Wishing everyone the best.

  • March 12, 2020 at 07:43 PM

    Both our shelter and thrift store are using hospital-grade disinfectant throughout our facilities, and high-touch areas are being cleaned multiple times daily.

    Staff, volunteers and customers are encouraged to wash their hands or sanitize between touching animals or customers to prevent the spread of any illness.

    We have plans in place to make sure our shelter animals are cared for in the event of an emergency.

    We are encouraging all pet-owners to have an emergency plan in place for their pets.

    make sure pets are wearing proper identification; have crates and extra food or supplies on hand; and identify a trusted family member, friend or pet sitter who can care for your pet if you become ill or are hospitalized.

  • March 12, 2020 at 06:36 PM

    From everything I've read, pets are not susceptible and that famous case in China is questionable. However, it's a good idea to protect yourselves and any other human companions by not petting any animal that isn't your own.



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