Taking in Animals From COVID19 Households
The American Veterinary Medical Association recently posted interim recommendations for intake of companion animals from household where humans with COVID19 are present. The Fed strongly suggests becoming familiar with these guidelines and checking back to the AVMA site for updates.

Shelter Action Plan for Dealing with COVID-19
This plan was put together by the Susquehanna SPCA, a Federation member, and the NYSAPF Education Fund’s Shelter Standards Consultant Barbara Carr. It has been sent to all Federation members.

A shelter kit for preparing for the virus can be found at https://www.animalsheltering.org/COVID19


  • Personal hygiene and prevention
    • Educate the staff on techniques and set standards
    • Wash hands!!
      • Before eating
      • After touching dirty surfaces
      • After touching anything the public might have touched such as leashes, animals, etc.
    • Keep hands away from face
    • Open doors with elbows
    • No hand shaking
    • Use tissues once and throw away
    • Use hand sanitizer
  • If you are sick
    • Make sure you do not come to work!
      • If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours past any fever above 100.4 with out taking any medication that would reduce a fever.
    • Talk to your physician
    • Be calm and reasonable
  • Preparing the work environment
    • Properly equip the workplace with supplies
    • Ensure hand sanitizer dispensers are working and filled
    • Make sure hand soap is stocked in bathroom
    • Use disposable gloves when applicable
    • Wipe surfaces often with Clorox wipes
    • Enforce handwashing
    • Routinely clean with virucide (Rescue)
    • Stock necessary supplies in the event of interrupted supply or delivery
  • Dealing with animals that come from infected homes
    • While there is no evidence that COVID19 can be transmitted from humans to animals or animals to humans, animals that come in from an infected home should be bathed to rid them of any fomites they may be carrying
    • Staff doing the washing should wear some type of protective covering and thoroughly wash their hands and another other body surfaces that came in contact with the animal


  • Prepare for increased intakes
    • Long term foster contact list on hand (current)
    • Prepare talking points for staff to share with the public
    • Prepare a facility plan – phases 1, 2, and 3
    • Find out how long the virus stays alive outside of the body
  • Phase 1 (Now)
    • Provide regular updates to staff to make sure everyone is on the same page
    • Stock up on crates, pet supplies, etc.
    • Reach out to your local county’s emergency management team
      • Let them know the shelter is available to help with companion animals of people affected by the virus
      • Become familiar with what the County’s plan is and figure out how the shelter can be a part of it
    • Create a coalition with other groups that are a part of pet care that you may want to partner
      • Other shelters in your region, vet clinics, groomers, etc.
    • Prepare for staff illnesses
    • Communicate your plan with volunteers
    • Know what your availability of volunteers is if staff becomes sick.
      • Create the network and make sure contact information up to date.
      • Teach volunteers procedures at the shelter to possibly fill in for essential staff who are out sick
    • Reach out to boarding facilities
    • Send out an email to staff about the prevention best practice procedures
    • Ensure a robust foster list
    • Stock up on supplies – medical, office, etc.
    • Know what happens in the case of a self-quarantine
    • HR review of benefits
    • Begin to institute reduced population of shelter animals
  • Phase 2 (If staff becomes infected)
    • Start limiting services available at the shelter currently
    • Cut hours that shelter is open
    • Cut off transfers into the shelter from out of State
    • Limit intakes
    • Move animals into foster
    • Move animal population into one building
  • Phase 3 (Shelter becomes quarantined)
    • Working on skeleton crew
      • Move to “Sunday” crew—essential animal care staff
      • During quarantine, all non-essential staff can work at home
      • Make sure all staff members know how to clean the shelter, gives meds, etc.
    • Talking Points
      • Important to communicate animal to human transfer has not been confirmed
      • Make sure the public know where sanitizer is and encourage them to wash their hands
      • Remind employees about good hygiene
      • Encourage pet owners to have a plan in place should they become ill
      • Emergency Kit List—what should be in it
      • Develop communication tree to ensure all staff know what is going on

Media Plan

  • Make sure your local media list is up to date
    • Newspapers
    • TV
    • Radio
    • Local bloggers
  • Use your social media platforms to communicate as well
  • Communicate Facts vs. Myths
    • Animal to human transfer
  • Education
    • Educate the public. All pet owners should have an emergency kit at home.
      • Stock up on food, bottled water, litter, crates, shot records (for boarding purposes)
      • Have someone to care for your pet in case you are hospitalized
    • Promote adoptions for the people that are home
    • Develop potential Press Releases—Sample press release below
      • Recruiting Fosters
      • Limiting hours
      • If you shut your doors or limit intakes
      • Next steps if fosters are needed
      • Public’s need to prepare for their animals
      • Facts V Myths concerning transmission from pets to people

Statement on Human to Pet Transmittal

  • To date, the CDC states there is no known reason to believe that any animals can spread COVID-19
  • The CDC has not received any reports of pets or animals becoming sick with COVID-19
  • No evidence that companion animals can spread the virus
  • We can begin washing all of our animals down upon intake and make sure we communicate that to the public so they know the animals are not carrying fomites
  • Restrict contact with animals or humans if you are infected
  • See Statement from World Small Animal Veterinary Association

Short Term Foster

  • Shelter Pets
    • Develop a list of fosters
      • Name and location
      • What type of animal they can house
        • If they can foster animals with special needs
      • Add a clause to foster agreement that if the foster has to be hospitalized, they need to contact the shelter about where the animal may be moved secondarily
    • Arrange transport
    • Prepared a checklist for the necessary items needed for the foster
    • Have a list/plan for each shelter animal that may have special diets, medications, etc. to be given to foster home should the animal be sent out of the shelter
    • Provide each foster with a list of emergency contacts
    • Create a way to easily communicate with the shelter’s foster network
      • Listserv
      • Facebook group for fosters, other social media
    • Talk to other shelters to see if they are willing to help with transfers, etc.
  • Owned Pets
    • Develop a form for owners to complete with vital information about their pets
    • Have transport plans in place
    • If the animal becomes ill while in foster care, the owner should have a vet on call and their credit card information already provided to the vet’s office
    • Have a plan in place prior to this becoming an emergency
    • Communicate that we are here to help
    • Make sure we have ways to communicate with those that do not have access to the internet



Shelter name suggests including pets in preparedness plan amid COVID-19 concerns

March X, 2019 – With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 on the rise worldwide, it is important for city/county residents to include their pets in preparedness plans.

Shelter name joins the Humane Society of the United States and The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement in suggesting community members create a preparedness plan that includes their pets in the event community is impacted by the virus that causes COVID-19. In addition to preparations typically recommended for any natural disaster threat, individuals with pets should identify family members or friends to care for pets if someone in the household comes ill and is hospitalized.

Make a preparedness plan for your pets:

  • Identify a trusted family member or friend to care for your pets if someone in your household becomes ill or is hospitalized.
  • Research potential boarding facilities to utilize in the event boarding your pet becomes necessary.
  • Have crates, food and extra supplies for your pet on hand in case moving them becomes necessary or if the disease spreads in the community and it becomes necessary to reduce social exposure.
  • All animal vaccines should be up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering instructions. Including the prescription from the prescribing veterinarian is also helpful.
  • Pets should have identification including a collar with current identification tags and a registered microchip.

Shelter name recommends staying diligent in preparations, but not overreacting to COVID-19 concerns. By creating a preparedness plan ahead of time for the unlikely event it becomes necessary to put into motion, community members can do their part to ensure animal service resources do not become overwhelmed and their pets are spared unnecessary stress. Community members who are eager to help offset the potential impact on pets related to COVID-19 are encouraged to inquire about fostering. FOSTER INFO HERE IF RELEVANT.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association states that there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected with or spread COVID-19. This is also the view of the World Health Organization. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, people with confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with other people as well as pets.


Press Contact: [insert shelter contact info here]




About the Humane Society of the United States

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org.

About The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement

Incorporated in 1970, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement develops strong leaders, promotes stands of practice, and cultivates collaboration to advance the animal welfare profession with a united voice. The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement is committed to raising the level of expertise for all professionals in animal welfare and animal care & control, as we believe the impact of our work will save more animals’ lives.