Animal shelters adapt and adjust to COVID-19

by | Apr 3, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions across the state for many. When your operation relies on a steady supply of volunteers and community outreach, the shut down of services can be especially hard.

Animal shelters across the state have shut their doors to visitors, but they are working in unique ways to still serve the pet community. “Shelters did a phenomenal job in moving their animals out of their shelters and into rescues or other foster care before the stay-at-home order went into place,” said Dr. Patricia Norris, director of the NCDA&CS animal welfare section. “We have seen a lot of misinformation and rumors that shelters are euthanizing more because of the shelter-in-place. Right now we are not seeing that to be the case.”

Shelters have developed virtual ways to help their with adoptions. Including online galleries and virtual adoptathons. While many have closed their doors to walk-in traffic, most are open for adoptions and reclaims by appointment.

Shelters are also making plans to support animals who’s owners may have to go to the hospital or who have lost their jobs. “We encourage all pet owners to have a plan in place for how their pets can continue to receive care if they get sick or lose their job,” said Norris.

How to help:

There are ways you can support your local animal shelter.

  1. Take in a foster pet. This helps the shelter keeps the number of animals in the shelter lower at a time when adoption events cannot be held.
  2. Call your shelter to see what they need – you can support them directly with food donations, supplies or even money. Check the shelters Facebook page or website for ways to reach out.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Animal Welfare Section is responsible for inspecting and regulating animal shelters, boarding facilities and pet shops across the state. Inspectors cover all 100 counties, and each facility is inspected at least once a year. Inspectors respond quickly to complaints from the public, but their job is to make sure that animals are housed according to the rules set forth in the N.C. Animal Welfare Act.

Check the AWS website under the COVID-19 tab for more resources for animal shelters, boarding kennels and pet shops:

The ASPCA has also developed resources for pet owners on how to keep your pets safe during the COVID-19 crisis: