Animal shelters sent out desperate pleas for fosters and adopters when the COVID-19 pandemic first started to spread throughout the country. Applications flooded in and the shelters were humbled by the amount of people who stepped up and offered to foster the homeless dogs and cats. Sadly, that was just the first hurdle that shelters would have to overcome.
Woof Whiskers wanted to see how the pandemic was impacting animal rescues, so they conducted a survey of 108 animal shelters around the country.
The survey found that 75% of shelters report lack of funding and over half said it’s their biggest challenge.
Stay-at-home orders are being extended around the country and taking a toll on the shelters, just like other businesses. Animal shelters rely on the money from adoption fees and donations to operate and care for the shelter pets. Millions of people have lost their jobs and the economy has been decimated by the pandemic, resulting in a steep decline in donations.
In addition, shelters were forced to cancel fundraisers, events, and close thrift stores that benefited the rescues. Deb Griffith said on behalf of Good Karma Pet Rescue, “We still need $$ — even more so now!”
Samantha Shelton with FurKids expressed her concerns for the future. “We are worried about the long term economic challenge we could experience well into the future and our constituents’ ability to support our lifesaving efforts.”
While funding was the biggest challenge, many shelters are lacking volunteers and essential supplies. Volunteers are understandably concerned about social distancing and opting to stay at home. The staff and few remaining volunteers are overworked and unable to keep up with the incoming applications and requests.
Most shelters have had to limit intakes and are offering pet food banks to help families in need. Adoptions are on hold at most rescues because they are unable to perform home checks and many veterinarians are doing emergency visits only, meaning no spaying or neutering.
Cleaning supplies are in high demand around the country and the shelters are having a hard time finding what they need. Many believe it will get better with time but appreciate any help people can offer.
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The silver lining is that more people are interested in adopting. The survey found 43.5% of shelters have more people interested in adopting since the outbreak. Hopefully, people will continue to adopt and foster after this pandemic is over.
Dogs and cats make perfect quarantine buddies and have been proven to relieve stress. With all the uncertainty in the world, we all need a loyal companion.
“Transport out of the SE to northern states is shut down. Donations are down due to loss of jobs and uncertainty. But the number of fosters stepping up is huge. People are home and want to help,” said LuAnn Farrell with Angels Rescue.
GreaterGood and The Animal Rescue Site (ARS) are dedicated to helping animal shelters and pets in need. You can help by clicking on the “Click to Give” on the ARS site up to four times a day to provide food to shelter pets.
Help overwhelmed animal shelters affected by coronavirus by donating below. Your gift will provide support locating fosters and pairing them with shelters in need, and provide operational support and supplies to shelters to ensure long term care for pets during this crisis. With the spread of the coronavirus expanding daily, we need your help more than ever.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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