What can you do to help save lives at CCHS
COVID-19 has shaken the world of animal welfare. The valve has tightened to critical levels on funding and staff has been reduced to critical levels to put a stop to any possible introduction or spread of infection. What has not changed is our dedication to the homeless pets of Chautauqua County.
Here are some things you can do to help CCHS during this time of national crisis:
1. Stay up on the news.
Keep up with the latest information from national animal welfare organizations. Just this past week, the National Animal Care and Control Association and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians made several recommendations for animal shelters. They said that animal shelters should be considered essential public services and should remain open and operational, but that they should focus on emergency services, including emergency intakes, adoption and foster placement.
2. Don’t take healthy stray pets to the shelter.
If you find a stray pet in need of help, hold on to that animal and call your local shelter to file a found report. Post the pet on lost and found social media groups like Chautauqua Missing Pet Alert on Facebook. By keeping pets in their neighborhoods, you may actually increase their chances of finding their way back to their families. If the pet you found is not reclaimed, contact your shelter and ask if you can help re-home the pet yourself. You can use those same social media platforms to find it a new home, which will help keep that pet out of the shelter. If you own a pet and cannot keep it, try to find that pet a home yourself, instead of taking it to the shelter. Shelters need to maintain a low number of animals due to the possibility of conditions changing due to COVID-19 and the possibility of a sudden community need for services due to a COVID-19 outbreak locally, or if staff should become ill and need to be quarantined.
3. Adopt or foster a pet.
The single most important thing anyone can do right now is to take home a shelter pet. Whether you foster or adopt, you will help to create a cushion of space so your shelter can help the pets who truly need lifesaving care once the busy spring and summer season begins. Before COVID-19, foster caregivers would often be asked to foster for a short period of time, from a couple of days to several weeks. That has all changed now, because we need foster parents to be part of helping us get their pets adopted. If you are a foster caregiver or plan to become one, you can learn more about the CCHS Fostering Program here...
4. Leave cats and kittens alone.
You find a litter of kittens and want to help. In most cases, the very best thing you can do is to leave them alone. Their mom is probably out finding food and will be back soon. Even in the best of times, kittens are one of the most vulnerable populations of pets in shelters and sadly, they don’t always survive without their moms. Unless they’re visibly sick or injured or otherwise in immediate danger, don’t move them and instead just monitor to make sure their mom returns in a few hours to care for them. For adult cats, the best place for them during COVID-19 is in the community. Just like with kittens, unless they need medical attention, adult cats should be left alone. Most communities are not performing spay and neuter services for community cats in an effort to conserve precious medical supplies.
As we enter the next few weeks, we ask you to help us turn our entire community into an animal shelter, caring for pets in the places they live, taking in animals that need you and supporting your Chautauqua County Humane Society by fostering, adopting, donating and simply spreading the word. Now is the time to help each other.