Valley River Humane Society 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, and reports that the most likely impact of COVID-19 on shelters is a trend of average or increased intakes combined with reduced foster, adoption and rescue outcomes. This can quickly lead to overcrowding and shelters being forced to euthanize for space.
Obviously, Valley River Humane Society will take all steps necessary to avoid such a critical situation, and will be adapting our intake protocols and day-to-day operations, until such time as our rescue partners resume a regular transport schedule.
The change will mostly impact the owner surrender animals. About 45% of the pets who enter VRHS 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 by appointment. Please call the shelter to discuss your needs at 828-837-2304, BEFORE bringing your animals to us.
VRHS Animal Shelter will remain open for adoptions of cats and dogs, and we will continue to accept stray cats at this time, in order to spay/neuter and avoid unnecessary litters of animals. We will also accept sick/injured stray dogs and at-risk animals.
Found a stray pet? VRHS is 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 take the pet to a vet clinic or to VRHS to check for a microchip, file a found report, and hold the pet to give the owner time to locate it.
Please understand, our main focus at this time is on reducing the overall number of animals housed at the shelter. We have had higher-than-usual intake and fewer outcomes for the past 10 days and we anticipate that trend worsening. This is a predictable pattern that occurs any time people feel uncertain or worried. Regular transports of animals to our sister shelters in other states have been suspended, due to shutdowns in those areas. Because VRHS normally operates at or near capacity, reducing intakes and maintaining outcomes is essential to avoid overcrowding in the shelter.
If we are in danger of reaching critical capacity, we may be looking for “on-call” emergency fosters, primarily for medium or large dogs, and pets with medical issues. If you have experience with fostering shelter animals and have adequate, suitable housing, please contact the shelter at 828-837-2304.
We are also in need of extra large dog crates or large exercise pens as an emergency housing option.
Plan ahead: Pet owners are encouraged to make plans for their pets in case someone in the home falls ill. People should stock up on two extra weeks of pet supplies and identify a pet sitter who can help out if the pet owner becomes hospitalized.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement saying there is no evidence that dogs or cats can be infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
For people who have been considering an addition to their family, and would like to adopt a pet, the shelter is offering reduced dog adoption fees of $30. This fee includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, Heartworm testing and current preventative. These reduced adoption fees do not reflect a lower standard of adoption criteria, and people should always view adoption as a permanent commitment to give lifelong care to any animal they take home.
We will keep you notified of updates and changes as they occur, and we thank you for your understanding as we continue our mission of saving lives.