Caring for animals is a hands-on task. The pandemic has upended operations (and fundraising) for Pittsburgh-area shelters.

Animals aren’t at a great risk for COVID-19, but the pandemic has upended care at local shelters.  

As businesses shuttered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new challenge arose for Pittsburgh’s Animal Friends shelter. With more than 200 cats, dogs and other animals all on-site, Animal Friends couldn’t just shut their doors. 

Instead, shelter staff sprung into action. And over the next nine months, the shelter created solutions to continue providing essential care to the animals safely amid the pandemic. Those included partnering with foster homes to house the animals, virtual fundraisers and limiting foot traffic at their campus — among other precautions.

“We limited the number of people in the building and implemented a team schedule among staff,” said Cody Hoellerman, chief community engagement officer at Animal Friends. “We put staff in groups.”

These are just a few of the ways animal shelters across Allegheny County shifted their approach to animal care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With resources shrinking, they had to schedule appointments virtually, while struggling to find funding during a year when in-person fundraising events were impossible.  

Like other shelters in the area, Animal Friends moved some animals to foster homes to make the kennel population safer by decreasing the number of animals — and in turn, staff — from being in the facility. The response from the community willing to foster animals, Hoellerman said, was “overwhelming.”

“It was a blessing,” Hoellerman said. “Half of the animals on-site got moved into a foster home.”

Cody Hoellerman with a dog from Animal Friends Shelter (photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Cody Hoellerman with a dog from Animal Friends shelter. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Currently, there are 187 animals in Animal Friends’ care, according to Hoellerman – 105 of them are on-site, and 82 are in foster homes. Typically, there are over 250 animals in the shelters’ care at any given time. 

Volunteer coordinator Maddie Aicher petting a cat at Animal Friends shelter in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE AT: 

Caring for animals is a hands-on task. The pandemic has upended operations (and fundraising) for Pittsburgh-area shelters.

Comments

From the Web