KINGSTON – The Ulster County SPCA (UCSPCA) has launched a checklist of protocols to ensure that no shelter pet lives are lost as a result of increasing concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak. They are also offering support to local pet owners to ensure adopted pets stay in loving homes, to reduce the strain on local shelters struggling with significant losses of financial support due to reduced fundraising abilities with social distancing.
The UCSPCA is using guidance and protocols for every area of the shelter provided by American Pets Alive!, a national animal welfare education and outreach non-profit. These protocols are designed to help animal shelters be prepared and create proactive plans in case of quarantine, including guidelines for adoptions, foster programs, found stray pets, medical/disease protocols, intake protocols and more. The Ulster County SPCA has also put in place protective protocols for pet owners, to continue providing community assistance while also practicing CDC guidelines to “flatten the curve” of the outbreak.
“The health and safety of our pets and the community is our top priority,” said Gina Carbonari, Executive Director. “According to the World Health Organization, there is ‘no evidence that companion animals have been infected or could spread coronavirus (COVID-19).’ Our biggest concern is pet owners not having a plan in place for their pets if they become ill.”
“We are often asked, ‘what do you need?’ or ‘how can I help?’ What we really need is for everyone to identify a friend or family member as their pet’s guardian in an emergency and help prevent the strain on shelters that may become inundated and bottlenecked with too many pets coming in. Having that plan in place tremendously helps every shelter.”
As a standard best practice, the UCSPCA asks that all pets are licensed and wearing license and ID tags with contact information and that their microchip is up to date. This will help your neighbors get your pet back to you in the event they go missing and will prevent them from having to enter the shelter.
The public can also help by donating. During this emergency, the Ulster County SPCA is designated essential services and caring for animals does not stop. Cleaning and feeding, exercise and enrichment, animal cruelty investigations and providing life-saving medical care all must still happen daily. These services are essential and will continue to be available despite the financial hardship faced by a small non-profit that saw its major annual fundraiser canceled in March. Monetary donations from the community are needed to support the work of the organization and keep pets in loving, healthy homes.
The UCSPCA is a private nonprofit organization that relies on donations to care for the animals of Ulster County. They are not funded by the county government, and there is no support from the ASPCA on behalf of our local animals. Please help support your local SPCA, and your community by donating directly on their website at ucspca.org or by calling (845)331-5377.