Updated: April 7, 11:30 a.m. ET
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UPDATE: Red Rover offering grants to people that need to board pets for two weeks while in the hospital. Read press release.
The spay/neuter dilemma: Making the difficult choice
With the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) on the rise worldwide, it is important for shelters and rescues to be prepared for the impact this may have on their staff and their community. The resources and information provided here can help you take proactive steps to prepare. The volume of news on COVID-19 is likely to increase, and public concern will increase with it. Being able to provide accurate and timely information is another service you can provide your employees and community.
General information on COVID-19
While COVID-19 is contagious for humans and, as of now, is understood to spread primarily from person to person, the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) Global Veterinary Community—an association representing more than 200,000 veterinarians— states that there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected. The association does, however, caution that this is a rapidly evolving situation and updates will be provided as they are received. People confirmed to have COVID-19 should avoid contact with other people as well as pets. The full advisory document from WSAVA can be found here.
COVID-19 is a newly identified virus that has now been detected in 168 locations internationally, including the U.S., which has reported 68,440 confirmed cases as of March 26, 2020.
It is spread mostly from person to person. It is suspected that it originally came from an animal source, but it is now a disease of people.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases. COVID-19 is in that family of viruses.
While scientists and drug companies are working to develop and test treatments and vaccines, at this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it.
Shelters should prepare for COVID-19 like any other natural disaster during which intake is expected to increase. Pets are a significant part of our families and communities; plans should be in place at an individual and community level.
Stay calm. Remember, we will get through this!
It is important to stay calm. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness spread via droplets and we know how to deal with that.
Being informed and taking precautions is your best course of action. Panic could be the largest factor we have to respond to in this entire situation. Finally, if you have thoughts or concerns, please share them with us.
Because most animal sheltering staff and volunteers are caregivers, the idea of not reporting to work can be unfathomable in spite of an illness. This is where leadership is most critical: we must support health and wellness for our teams by strongly advising them to stay home when sick and sending them home when employees are symptomatic at work. No one gets a gold star for attendance and exposing your co-workers to germs does not create a culture of care. Stay diligent throughout this journey by prioritizing preparedness and safe practices. This is how we will beat the coronavirus.
Five things animal shelters and rescues can do together to minimize shelter Intake and maximize lifesaving due to COVID-19 from the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement
- Compassion in a time of crisis from Animal Sheltering Online
- Expand your foster network to combat COVID-19 from Animal Sheltering Online
- HSUS, partners release coronavirus tool kit for shelters; Authorities say no evidence of pet-to-human transmission from the Humane Society of the United States
- 4 Mantras for messaging your community about COVID-19 from the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement
- Our team is our path forward from the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement
- Animal welfare fundraising during coronavirus and economic uncertainty from the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement
- Keeping up with COVID-19, 3/18: Inexpensive, simple tool to keep us all healthy from the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement
- Keeping up with COVID-19, 3/18: A contagious idea to help isolated pet owners from the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement
- Keeping up with COVID-19, 3/17: Take foster & volunteer training online from the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement
The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement
Phone: 888-600-3648 x108
The Humane Society of the United States
- AVMA: Overview of COVID-19 transmission and infection in humans
- AVMA: What do you need to know about coronavirus?
- CDC:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC: What you need to know aboutcoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- World Health Organization: Rolling updates on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- CDC Flier on Protecting Yourself from Illness at a Public Event - While this flier specifically refers to influenza, the precautions also apply to COVID-19.
- Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources - For ongoing local updates.