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No Evidence That Pets Spread CoVid-19, So Don’t Dump Them at Animal Shelters

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We’re living in a world none of us have really ever experienced. From countries quarantining themselves into their homes, to world powers basically shutting down every activity that would have groups of more than a handful gather, the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all.

But what’s terrible is that it’s affecting our pets as well, as animal shelters fear the worst when it comes to not only pet surrenders, but lack of people being able to foster and adopt new pets too.

Julie Castle is the Chief Executive Officer for Best Friends Animal Society. She said that because people may be feeling overwhelmed about their health or their financial stability, they may also feel overwhelmed about how to best care for their pets. Castle said that animal shelters all over the world are bracing for not only fewer adoptions or foster homes, but more surrenders as well.

Experts also believe that people may be dumping their pets because they fear that somehow their pets can spread the Coronavirus. That’s simply not true, as both the World Health Organization and the Chief Veterinarian for the American Kennel Club do not believe your dog is at risk for catching it. This means even if you are diagnosed with it, there is no reason to believe that your dog will catch it.

Castle says that as the news about Coronavirus seems to evolve quickly, it’s important that you keep up to date with credible and expert sources to do your part of minimizing risk, but that does not include getting rid of your pets.

Related: Got the Flu? Disease Expert says it’s Safe to Cuddle with Your Dog

Already, shop owners in Great Britain have seen a surge in the number of animals that are dumped on their doorstep, and they fear that will just grow as the number of human cases continues to grow. People have been leaving geckos, rabbits and snakes. One bunny was barely weeks old, and simply left at the front door of the shop.

Meanwhile, volunteers in China say the battle to take care of animals being abandoned is tremendous, with already more than 2,000 people in China dead and more than 78,000 infections reported. Sick or infected pet owners can’t take their animals with them, and some are dumping their pets despite WHO saying animals can’t carry the virus.

One volunteer from Furry Angels Heaven in Wuhan told the BBC that they’d rescued a lot of dogs this month, and most were abandoned by their owners. The volunteer said some of dogs are coming from owners with the Coronavirus and who are quarantined, and if they’re lucky, the police will send them to her. This volunteer wanted to be anonymous, though, as she has 35 dogs and 28 cats she’s helping care for and she didn’t want repercussions from Chinese officials.

We CAN help reduce the impact on our local shelters by making sure our pets stay safe and with us at home. If in a position to do so, reach out to a local rescue to foster or donate and if you’re looking to add a new furry family member, adopt, as the need for homes is significant.

And, now’s the time to create a Pet Disaster Plan. Just like with other emergent states of the world, you should have a plan for what should happen to your pet if you can’t care for them because you become ill.

Make sure you have a friend or family member who will take responsibility for them, and have extra supplies, food and crates ready if it becomes necessary to move them quickly. Make sure all their vaccines are up-to-date in case boarding is necessary, and if you have a pet that has medicine, make sure you keep those medicines documented with their dosings and directions for administering accessible. For more tips, you can check out Animal Sheltering’s resources for COVID-19.


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