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Local Animal Shelters Prepare for Pandemic

As all of us are sequestered in our homes and trying to stay sane, it may be a good time to foster an animal or add a furry friend permanently to your family. Whatever you decide, shelters need us now more than ever and here are a few ways you can help!
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photo by Kat Jayne
UPDATED: March 26, 2020 at 10:40 a.m.

CityDog Magazine reached out to local shelters to see how they are handling the crisis, find out what they need from us as a community (foster homes, food, supplies, donations), and how Pacific Northwest dog lovers can help. As of today, adoptions are down 50% at some shelters including the Seattle Animal Shelter (see below).

Homeward Pet is closed to the public for both adoptions and donation drop-offs until further notice. All of their animals are currently in foster care -- here are some ways you can still help from the comfort of your home.

Auburn Valley Humane Society is operating on limited hours, by appointment only, from noon to 4 p.m. daily (including weekends). Please fill out an adoption form here and call 253.249.7849 to schedule an appointment if you are interested in adopting (we took a peek and there are currently three dogs listed for adoption). The Society’s Gala & Auction has been moved from May 30 to October 24, 2020; Barkfest & Rover Romp is tentatively scheduled for August 22, 2020 (we will keep you posted if anything changes).

The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County (HSTPC) is actively monitoring the spread of COVID-19. At this time, the shelter is open and fully operational. Please be aware, although they are accepting owner-surrendered pets by appointment only, the shelter is asking for pet owners in the community who are not facing an immediate crisis to hold onto their pets for up to a few weeks and schedule a surrender appointment for a later date. Pet care counseling tips and re-homing resources can be found here.

Adoptions needed: HSTPC currently has over 165 pets in their care, and it is crucial that they add enough capacity to continue serving as a lifeline for pets in our community. If you are ready to open your home to a shelter pet in need, now is the time. Follow this link to check out adoptable dogs available.

Fosters needed: The shelter is also looking for emergency fosters who can take home a pet if they reach critical capacity. The Society will need fosters for all types of pets, but housing for medium and large dogs and pets with medical issues will be most needed. To find out more about fostering, click here.

Friends needed: HSTPC needs your help now more than ever. For as little as $1 a day, you can help ensure the shelter continues to save the lives of animals in our community. Become a Friend here.

To protect the health and safety of staff and customers, and to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the Seattle Animal Shelter is closed to the public. They expect to reopen March 23, but will continue to evaluate as the outbreak evolves. If you believe your lost pet is at the Seattle Animal Shelter, call them first at 206.386.PETS. If your pet is at the shelter, they will set an appointment for pick-up. If you have found a lost pet, do not show up at the shelter; call 206.386.PETS for assistance. If you want to adopt an animal, they are still accepting applications.

Shelter staff is available over the phone or online during the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached at:

• Phone: 206.386.7387(PETS)
• Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
• Online Service Request Forms

As of now, they do not need additional volunteers and are not accepting material donations. Of course, monetary donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, click here. "Our adoptions are down by almost 50%, so that speaks to what's happening in the community," says Seattle Animal Shelter director Ann Graves. "If you are in a position where you're working from home and you've been thinking about adding a family member of the furry or feathery or scaly variety, this is a great time to do that."

Not to leave out our city kitties, Seattle Area Feline Rescue is staying open for adoptions, with slightly reduced hours. You can find updates here, including in-depth information about SAFe Rescue's extensive sanitation protocols, as well as extra safety measures they have added. These include a waitlist system that limits the number of people inside the Adoption Center at a time. Here is a list of available kitties for adoption. And, with kitten season fast approaching, monetary donations and supply donations (check out their wish list here) are appreciated.

According to Bekah Sandy with Seattle Humane, the shelter started planning weeks ago for what to do if they needed to close to the public (which is now). During that time, they did a trial run of adoptions by appointment, as well as moved the majority of their animals into foster care. Of the more than 200 pets in their care, only 30 remain on the Bellevue campus, where the animals continue to receive enrichment, attention and affection from staff and volunteers. For the time being, Seattle Humane does not need foster caregivers, but this could change in the near future (CityDog will keep you informed). In addition, they are currently well-stocked and not in immediate need of food or supplies, but anticipate this will change in the coming weeks (again, we will keep you informed).

Despite the closure, Seattle Humane is continuing its Pet Food Bank program, which provides pet food for low income families. Other programs have been cancelled like dog training classes, fundraisers and education programs -- basically, anything that would include a group of people for non-necessary services/resources. As of now, their annual fundraising event, Tuxes & Tails is still scheduled for May 9, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.

Earlier today, CityDog also received an update from the NOAH Center in Stanwood, Wash. As of now, they are suspending all out-of-state transfers to reserve shelter space for local partners. They have also closed their Adoption Center to the public, but will continue adoptions by appointment only. If you are interested in adopting a dog or cat, you can view all of their adoptable animals on their website and if you see a pet that you feel would be a good fit for your family, call 360.629.7055 to schedule an appointment.

NOAH is also continuing to provide spay/neuter services for pets of low-income families, but asking that all clients stay in their cars during drop-off and pick-up times -- a staff member will assist with the transfer.

All other events, meetings and gatherings have been cancelled through April including their largest fundraiser, Laugh Your Tail Off Comedy Show and Auction, which raises over $150,000 each year for homeless animals. If you have already purchased a ticket, their development director will be reaching out to you directly. In lieu of a live auction, NOAH will host an online auction (more details to come).

We also heard from Greyhound Pets, Inc., who is continuing with adoptions as usual on an appointment basis. However, they need more volunteers. According to Martha Faulkner, they also need Kirkland Lamb and Rice Kibble, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and bleach (check out their full wish list here). Also, be sure to visit their website for volunteer and adoption opportunities -- you may recall we featured Troy in our #WhynotMEpets program (Troy is still available). 

Lastly, Motley Zoo Animal Rescue wanted us to know they have closed their Redmond facility for the interim, but fosters are needed and adoptions continue (by appointment). They also desperately need funds to purchase food and supplies for animals currently in foster homes, as well as continue to provide ongoing veterinary care (with the facility closed, they are unable to accept food and supplies, so monetary donations are greatly appreciated). To donate, please click here and if you are interested in fostering or adopting an animal, please visit their website.

​If you are considering fostering or adopting, here are some incentives during this crisis:

1. Pets are good for your health...studies prove it!

2. Pets help you live a longer, healthier life.

3. Pets alleviate allergies and boost immune function.

4. Pets up your fitness quotient.

5. Pets dial down stress.

6. Pets boost heart health.

(Source: Mother Nature Network)
 

Editor's Note: As we hear from local animal welfare organizations, we will continue to update this article.


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