Facebook11Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Animal ServicesIn light of new developments regarding COVID-19, Animal Services (AS) has made the decision to close to the public until March 31 to support community efforts to reduce the spread of infection. This announcement comes as the shelter monitors new information concerning the coronavirus outbreak, as well as in response to recommendations from government and healthcare officials to promote social distancing practices.“Animal Services is committed to doing its part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, while also fulfilling our mission of saving lives and completing families,” said Hock. “In the interim, our talented and dedicated staff and volunteers continue to provide exceptional care to all of our animals, whether they are here at our shelter or in one of our foster homes.”As the shelter’s primary goal is to house, care for, adopt, and reunite lost pets in its care, AS will continue to offer some services on a limited basis and by appointment only. These services include: adoption, reclaiming of lost pets, and dropping off stray animals.AS is asking people to avoid surrendering healthy pets, following the guidance provided by the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA). NACA is advising animal shelters to take extra measures to reduce shelter intake to mitigate the short and long-term effects of COVID-19.Following these guidelines, Field Service Officers will continue to answer high priority and emergency calls. Those calls include injured or sick stray animals, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, dangerous and aggressive dog complaints, and more.“Our main focus at this point is on reducing the overall number of animals housed at the Shelter,” Hock said. “We’ve had higher-than-usual intake and fewer outcomes for the past 10 days and we anticipate that trend worsening. It’s a predictable pattern that occurs any time people feel uncertain or worried. Because Animal Services operates at or near capacity, reducing intakes and not lowering adoptions/reclaims is essential to avoid overcrowding in the Shelter.”“The change will mostly impact the owner surrenders,” Hock said. “About 50% of the pets who enter AS are given up by their owners. We are asking owners who are not facing an immediate crisis to hold their pets for up to four weeks, and to surrender at a later date. For any pet owners who need to surrender immediately, we will still take their pets during a scheduled appointment.”Animal Services will continue to adopt out animals by appointment as long as it is safe to do so. “We encourage anyone who has been thinking about adding a new addition to their home to come and adopt one of the wonderful cats, dogs, rabbits, and other animals we have available. Many of these animals are posted on our website https://jointanimalservices.org/available-pets/ so people can see who is here. We encourage people to call and set up an appointment before coming in to meet and adopt the pet,” Hock said.People who can’t adopt can make a donation to Animal Services. To learn more about ways to donate, please go to https://jointanimalservices.org/donate/. Critical items can also be purchased directly from the shelter’s Amazon Wish List and shipped directly to Animal Services.Found a stray pet? Animal Services is also asking people who find friendly, stray pets to consider fostering them until the Shelter can resume normal operations. Pets typically stay pretty close to home when they go missing, so this helps get pets home much more quickly, without having to endure the stress of the Shelter. Stray finders can file a found report with Animal Services, take the pet to a vet clinic or the Shelter to check for a microchip, and hold the pet to give the owner time to locate it.For information about local impacts of coronavirus on humans and guidance for keeping yourself and others healthy, please follow the dedicated page on the Thurston County Health Department website: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/coronavirus.aspx.