The Federation put together a great deal of information for shelters at the beginning of the pandemic and was successful in getting animal shelters designated as essential services. Now that vaccines have been developed, the Fed has been bringing the issue of vaccines for shelter workers to the Governor’s office. We understand the shortage issues.

However, because shelter workers are not on the 1b list for vaccines, we’re starting to experience shut downs, skeleton crews, etc. In early February, the Manhattan Animal Care Center had to close because of a COVID outbreak. Click here to see the story on NBCNewsNY.

We’ve been reaching out to legislators on both sides of the aisle to call the Governor to put shelter workers on the 1b list. Click here to read our memo.

Early COVID Information

Shelters Considered Essential Services
After much work by the Federation, Animal Shelters are now considered essential services under Governor Cuomo’s executive order 202.6. Click here for a link to the guidance on this decision.

Under section 5, animal shelters are considered an essential service. Veterinary and animal health services are considered essential health care operations under section 1.

This is very good news. Shelter no longer have to reduce their workforce even though the Governor’s latest order is to reduced nonessential workers by 100% to help flatten the curve of the virus. You can read the Governor’s updated Executive Order guidance here:

Shelters should be responsible and prudent. Staff that can work remotely–office staff, etc.–should.

Staff should take all precautions when they are at the shelter–wash hands frequently, use protective gear when necessary and maintain social distancing.

Guidance from the Division of Animal Industry, NYS Dept. of Ag & Markets
On Sunday, March 22, the Division of Animal Industry out of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets came out with Interim Guidance for Animal Care Operations. 

The Federation will continually updates these pages to keep the state’s network of animal shelters as up to date as possible on

If you have any questions, please contact the Fed’s executive director, Libby Post, at 518/813-9176 or