Humane Society plans to assist pet owners

Photo contributed by AnimalKind“Lilly came to us when her owner became ill,” AnimalKind founder Katrin Hecker said. “She is very sweet and waiting for her chance to find a new forever home.” Four-year-old Lilly is available for adoption at Animalkind.

HUDSON — The Columbia-Greene Humane Society is one of many animal shelters continuing its essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The humane society will continue boarding and day care services for dogs because many of its clients are medical professionals who rely on the services, according to its website.

The humane society has a food bank for those experiencing economic hardship; it will remain open from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Those who are quarantined and need pet food can contact the humane society for a delivery. The organization is asking for donations of dry cat and dog food.

“We generally give away 35,000 pounds a year of free food,” Humane Society President Ron Perez said. “Currently it’s been even busier.”

During uncertain times, people may turn to surrendering their pets.

“We will get through this as a country,” Perez said. “Don’t surrender your pet. You may regret that when this is over. CGHS can supply food and hopefully we’ll have our low-cost vet clinic up and running again to serve animals in need of medical treatment.”

Pet adoption services have been canceled until March 31, but potential adopters can view animals at cghs.org and fill out an online application to be pre-approved. Spay and neuter services, grooming services and health and wellness clinics are canceled through the end of the month.

If pets are experiencing a medical emergency, owners should contact an emergency veterinarian practice such as the Upstate Veterinary Specialties at 518-783-3198.

AnimalKind continues to take appointments for spay and neuter clinics, medical emergencies and adoptions. But the nonprofit organization is taking measures to ensure pets and their owners are safe.

Katrin Hecker, founder and executive director of AnimalKind, said they are not accepting volunteers at this time to avoid person-to-person exposure.

Appointments are spaced out to prevent overcrowding and only one person is allowed with each pet. Pet owners are asked to call from their cars to alert staff of arrival, and pets will be brought in by staff and returned to the owner curbside.

Hecker reassured pet owners that COVID-19 is not contagious from pets to people.

“If people experience a hard financial time buying food or get medical attention or their pets, AnimalKind will try to help,” Hecker said.

Hecker recommended nature walks and extra playtime for pets and owners who are feeling cooped up while practicing social distancing. She said it is also an ideal time to dedicate time to training.

AnimalKind is encouraging people to foster animals.

“Fostering a pet during the isolation time is the best for you and the pet,” Hecker said. “We encourage fostering during these days and provide all necessary supplies. Adoptions are free from now on until the crisis subsides.”

Hecker said those who wish to help AnimalKind may donate money, bedding, food, litter and cleaning supplies.

Catskill Animal Hospital is part of the Capital Vets organization. Like all veterinarians, it has been designated an essential business by the state Economic Development Council and will remain open during the crisis.

“It is our duty to keep our pet population healthy so the very limited personal protection resources can be prioritized for human health providers,” Capital Vets General Manager Nancy Drumm said.

All Capital Vets offices will be closed to clients except in limited circumstances, such as euthanasia, and they will be provided with a mask and gloves before entering. Curbside check-ins will be available, but all non-essential services are suspended.

“We will be offering telehealth services as an option on a very limited basis where they are medically appropriate for clients who are at risk or families in quarantine,” Drumm said. “The normal charge for telehealth will be reduced to $25 for the duration of the crisis.”

If someone is quarantined, or diagnosed with COVID-19 and believes a pet or service animal is ill, Capital Vets recommends contacting the nearest office and a course of action will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, pets can carry other types of the coronavirus that can make them sick, the viruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak. The CDC has not received any reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

Linda Guntert of Everlasting Hope Animal Rescue in Hillsdale said the organization always needs donations of cleaning supplies, detergent, towels, blankets, fleeces and dog treats.

“We go through bleach, paper towels, Clorox wipes, just the things you can’t find right now,” Guntert said. “If anybody had any extras, we sure could use them.”

Pet owners going to PetSmart in Greenport can purchase supplies and leave them there for Everlasting Hope. While there, they can visit with some of the available cats.

Everlasting Hope is always looking for new fosters, and is “bursting at the seams” with dogs, cats and guinea pigs available for adoption.

“It’s the perfect time to adopt,” Guntert said of families who are now spending more time at home. Guntert said she hopes people do not feel the need to surrender their pets due to financial burdens during this uncertain time.

Abby Hoover is a reporter for Columbia Greene Media. Contact her at ahoover@registerstar.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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