Coronavirus orders lead to overcrowded shelters, pet adoption deal

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Michigan (WOOD) – While the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention says there is no evidence cats and dogs can spread the coronavirus, the impact of COVID-19 is still evident in animal shelters in western Michigan.

AT Harbor Humane Society at West Olive, staff say nearly 200 animals fill the kennels. They say over the past few weeks they have seen an influx of people coming to the shelter for entertainment, but few queuing up to adopt.

“It is certainly uncharted territory for us here. We were touched in ways that I don’t even think I imagined or expected, ”said Jen Nurenberg of the Harbor Humane Society.

To protect volunteers and staff, the shelter has only moved by appointment.

“We’ve made some changes to inbound traffic over the past two days just to reduce foot traffic here, to work with social distancing,” Nurenberg added.

The shelter says it has also seen a sharp drop in donations, forcing it to downsize its staff and pay with less. Nurenberg said the shelter depended on the money to take care of the animals.

The virus has become an issue that several shelters across the state are now bypassing.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a crazy time, “said Michelle Kenat with Best Pals Animal Rescue in West Olive said.

The Kenat shelter can accommodate up to 17 cats and five to six dogs at a time. She said she doesn’t see the same issues as the other shelters, so she uses her small operation to relieve the other facilities. Again this week, she picked up three dogs from a shelter in St. Clair Shores and one dog from Pound Buddies in Muskegon.

“It might not be much in the scope of it, but it does my heart good to know that we can provide them with good vet care,” Kenat said.

Shelters ask the community to help them by welcoming, adopting, and donating food or money.

“Our goal is to continue to open up space here in the shelter so that if and when it is needed, if people get sick, if they end up in the hospital and their pets are in need of a place to go… we can help with that, ”said Nuremberg.

the BISSELL Pet Foundation, who has agreed to help Michigan shelters, says the challenge is threefold: Orders in council have eliminated visits from potential adopters, and fewer staff and volunteers are available to care for the animals at the shelter. Additionally, many fundraising events at shelters have been canceled due to crowd regulations.

A dog awaiting adoption. (To file)

That’s why, starting Thursday, the foundation is sponsoring an impromptu Empty the Shelters Adoption Week at 30 shelters across the state, including the following locations:

Adoptions are $ 25 for eligible pet owners and the BISSELL Pet Foundation offers reduced adoption fees for foster care cases.

The event is by appointment only for social distancing purposes. Those interested in taking advantage of the adoption agreement must first complete an online application. The shelter staff will then contact them to arrange an appointment.

The special adoption of pets runs until March 25.

Those who cannot adopt now can help by donate to BISSELL Pet Foundation on the association’s website, https://www.bissellpetfoundation.org/donate/.

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