Animal control and animal welfare in general have been forced to think outside the box for years, and COVID-19 is no different. In fact, this pandemic has sparked many agencies to begin following some of the nationally-recognized and growing best practice models. These include reducing the number of animals housed in physical sheltering facilities and increasing the numbers being routinely housed in foster care and in the community.
The National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) is striving daily to ensure that we are providing each of our members as well as other animal control officers across the country with the support and information they need.
As of now NACA has published the following list of position statements, which are intended to provide guidance to shelters struggling to make sound decisions that balance lifesaving and animal control functions. They are:
- Animal Control Functions During the COVID-19 Pandemic – this statement outlines call animal services functions that should remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Animal Control Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic – this statement outlines information that should be gathered prior to a response as well as recommended PPE for officers
- Intake Protocol Recommendations During COVID-19 Pandemic– this statement outlines how to adjust intake protocols to reduce non-essential intake
- Continuity of Services– this statement outlines the essential nature of animal services
- Releasing Unaltered Pets from Animal Shelters During the COVID-19 Pandemic– this statement outlines the need to suspend preadoption spay/neuter surgeries and explains why an unaltered status should not result in euthanasia of an otherwise adoptable pet
- Essential Animal Services During COVID-19 this statement outlines essential services provided by animal services that should continue
- Removing Pets from Homes of Residents that are or Suspected to be Infected With COVID-19– this statement outlines the process by which an animal should be removed from the home from a resident infected with or suspected of being infected with COVID-19
- Bite Quarantine Requirement During COVID-19– this statement outlines recommendations to increase leniency for in home quarantines during the COVID-19 Pandemic to reduce potential exposure
NACA is also working actively with our partner organizations on the national level to develop and distribute information. We have worked with organizations such as American Pets Alive, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (The Association), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Best Friends Animal Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Maddie’s Fund, and many more. Here are a few links to tool kits that may help you in developing policies, procedures, and programs in order to maintain or enhance your operations during this pandemic:
- American Pets Alive COVID-19 Animal Shelter Preparedness Guide
- HSUS & The Association- Animal Sheltering COVID-19 Shelter Kit
- Best Friends- COVID-19 Resources
- ASPCA COVID-19 Emergency Relief Request
- Maddie’s Fund- COVID-19 and Emergency Foster Care Resources
Now we want to hear from you, the members that we serve and who are boots on the ground getting the essential work done during this challenging time! What are your current fears, concerns, and needs? How can NACA help? Please share in the comments below what information NACA can work on pulling together to aid you in the best way possible. We are here as a resource for you and we want to ensure that we are providing you with the most impactful position statements, letters of support, and information that you can use to influence, encourage, and directly implement change to ensure the good work you do day in and day out not only survives, but thrives in this time of need!