Shelter Operations and COVID-19

Written by Josh Fisher

April 1, 2020

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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:

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:

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!

Dr. Fisher has an educational background in population management/medicine, public health, veterinary sciences, informatics, and healthcare administration. He has been working in the veterinary medical/animal welfare field for over 15 years holding management roles in private practices, cooperate practices, the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine, county government, and now as the Animal Services Director for the City of Charlotte/Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. A strong advocate for professional development and growth in the animal welfare industry, Josh seeks to involve staff in continued education and training opportunities as well as in cutting edge industry research. His professional interests focus on disease reduction/prevention, advanced marketing/placement and intake reduction tactics, strategic planning, and staff career development in the area of animal welfare. His projects include increasing interest of veterinary/veterinary technician students in the animal welfare industry as well as working with community veterinarians to break down barriers, develop relationships, and increase involved in community focused animal welfare (animal control and sheltering) practices. It is a passion of Josh’s to bring a level of awareness to the animal welfare industry in such a way that young adults and college students make the decision to pursue animal welfare as a profession rather than falling into it by chance. ​

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