One of the unseen consequences of COVID19 is the fate of companion animals. Some dogs and cats lose their owners to the disease while some owners need to give up their companion animals because they can no longer care for them because of the economic and healthcare consequences of the pandemic.
The New York State Animal Protection Federation (NYSAPF) and its member, the Animal Care Centers of New York City (ACC), have created an Animal Care Caravan. Simply put, companion animals that come to ACC from COVID19-affected households are transported to Federation members across the state for care, feeding and adoption. This comes out of a larger effort to prepare for an overflow of animals that is coordinated by the Animal Planning Task Force of NYC Emergency Management along with a host of national and city-based animal advocacy organizations.
This means these animals will not be euthanized, as some have mistakenly asserted, but instead will be adopted to loving homes throughout New York. To date, dogs and cats have gone to the Ulster County SPCA in Kingston and to the Susquehanna SPCA in Cooperstown. As more animals come through ACC, the Caravan will pick up speed. Both ACC and Best Friends are managing transport of the animals.
“This is one of the best projects the Federation has taken on,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the NYS Animal Protection Federation. “While we advocate for shelter-positive legislation and capital funding, this work shines a light on the professionalism and good work New York’s animal shelters do each and every day. It also makes it clear that the state’s animal shelters are about high quality care and saving lives.”
The Federation was instrumental in getting animal shelters designated as essential services so that shelter professionals could continue to do their work and care for their animals. The Federation has kept its members up to date on COVID19 information as it relates to their work, on funding opportunities, on new protocols that have been developed and on the state’s actions in helping shelters keep their doors open and adoptions happening—in a socially-distanced, fully masked way.
“Animal Care Centers of NYC is grateful for the collaboration and partnership with the NYSAPF,” said. “Having Risa Weinstock, CEO of ACC a network of animal welfare organizations upstate that are ready and able to help animals from NYC during this pandemic has alleviated the anxiety of finding homes for animals from homes that are impacted by the coronavirus. The scale of human suffering has been devastating so it gives us a measure of comfort to know that with the help of Libby Post and the Federation we can provide the best outcome for the most animals in this very difficult time. ”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put homeless animals at further risk due to the staffing shortages and new social distancing directives facing animal shelters, while pet owners are coping with unprecedented financial and resource challenges,” said Michelle Villagomez, the ASPCA’s New York City senior legislative director. “The Animal Care Caravan is a key tool connecting vital services to the people and animals who need them most, and the ASPCA is proud to be part of the Animal Planning Task Force and the Animal Protection Federation.”
“So many families have been affected by COVID-19 and New York animal shelters are working overtime to secure safe pet placement during this state of emergency,” said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “The New York State Animal Protection Federation and Animal Care Centers of NYC and are saving lives and setting a good example for other states to follow.”