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SQSPCA suggests including pets in preparedness plan amid COVID-19 concerns

Shelter announces adoption special, emergency foster program

March 11, 2020 – With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the rise worldwide, it is important for Otsego County residents to include their pets in preparedness plans.

The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) joins the Humane Society of the United States and The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement in suggesting community members create a preparedness plan that includes their pets in the event Otsego County is impacted by the virus that causes COVID-19. In addition to preparations typically recommended for any natural disaster threat, individuals with pets should identify family members or friends to care for pets if someone in the household becomes ill and is hospitalized.

Make a preparedness plan for your pets:

  • Identify a trusted family member or friend to care for your pets if someone in your household becomes ill or is hospitalized.
  • Research potential boarding facilities to utilize in the event boarding your pet becomes necessary.
  • Have crates, food, and extra supplies for your pet on hand in case moving them becomes necessary or if the disease spreads in the community and it becomes necessary to reduce social exposure.
  • All animal vaccines should be up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering instructions. Including the prescription from the prescribing veterinarian is also helpful.
  • Pets should have identification including a collar with current identification tags and a registered microchip.

The SQSPCA recommends staying diligent in preparations, but not overreacting to COVID-19 concerns. By creating a preparedness plan ahead of time for the unlikely event it becomes necessary to put such a plan into motion, community members can do their part to ensure animal service resources do not become overwhelmed and their pets are spared unnecessary stress. Community members who are eager to help offset the potential impact of COVID-19 on pets are encouraged to inquire about fostering.

In the meantime, the SQSPCA has put together a preparedness plan of its own, including an adoption special this Friday and Saturday designed to free up space in the facility.

“Our Emergency Preparedness Foster Program will have two components,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “Part one of the program will depend upon volunteers who sign up to assist as a foster home in the event the shelter staff are quarantined and unable to come to the shelter to care for the animals.

“In such a case, we will ask that fosters take the animals into their homes for up to three weeks or until enough staff are able to return to the facility,” Haynes explained.

“Part two of the program will involve recruiting volunteers who would be willing to take animals in from homes where folks have fallen ill and have no family or friends to help care for their pets. Again, this could be a commitment for up to three weeks,” Haynes said.

Volunteers can sign up to assist with one or both parts of the program. To register as an Emergency Preparedness Foster Program volunteer, please call the shelter at (607) 547-8111, extension 108, or e-mail [email protected].

“Don’t be alarmed if you call on Thursday, March 12 and don’t get an answer,” added Haynes. “The shelter will be closed all day for an emergency planning session.”

Then – on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 – the SQSPCA reopens with a “Free Over Three” adoption promotion. Adoption fees for all cats and dogs three years and up will be waived in order to reduce shelter populations if COVID-19 concerns become a reality.

“As additional cases of the coronavirus continue to be confirmed in New York State, our intent is to decrease the number of animals in the shelter should COVID-19 impact our staff’s ability to care for them,” Haynes explained.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association states that there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected with or spread COVID-19. This is also the view of the World Health Organization. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, people with confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with other people as well as pets.

About the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit

About the Humane Society of the United States

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at

About The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement

Incorporated in 1970, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement develops strong leaders, promotes stands of practice and cultivates collaboration to advance the animal welfare profession with a united voice. The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement is committed to raising the level of expertise for all professionals in animal welfare and animal care and control, as they believe the impact of their work will save more animals’ lives.


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