As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter is taking steps at the shelter to be able to continue to best serve the animals and families of South Jersey who rely on us. Our management team is monitoring the situation and is in close contact with local health authorities to make sure that we’re taking proper measures to keep our staff and the public safe. Some steps we are taking include:
• Increasing our focus on disinfecting surfaces including counters, door handles thru the entire facility and other high-touch areas.
• Increasing the number of hand sanitizing stations available in our facility.
• Asking staff and volunteers who are sick to stay home until they are well.
• Limiting staff travel for conferences, continued learning or other nonessential business.
• Conducting group meetings by phone or other digital means when possible.
• Recommending use of online tools (via our website) to schedule surgical procedures for pets, report lost or found pets, or to express interest in joining one of our many volunteer programs.
• Recommending use of online tools (via our website) to view the pets available for adoption, and to complete any pre-adoption paperwork possible to limit the number of visit necessary to complete an adoption.
We are currently not accepting owner surrendered animals at the shelter. We anticipate that adoption rates will drop due to increased illnesses or quarantines for the public, yet we know for certain that our intake of strays, which has already begun to pick up with the warmer weather, will continue to increase. In addition, we need to maintain a high standard of care for the animals and the facility in the event of staff shortages.
However, we are still here to help families in need! Our Outreach Department’s goal is to keep pets with their families whenever possible and to provide assistance with rehoming if it’s not possible to keep them together. We are ready to do our best to help families during the challenging times ahead.
SJRAS also maintains a Pet Pantry for those who may need assistance providing food for their pets. During this ever-changing situation, we are opening the Pet Pantry to anyone who may have been affected economically by business closures and loss of wages.
Please keep in mind that pantry items may be in greater demand, and we may run out of available food at some point. Please visit our Community Outreach page on our website for a list of resources and our online assistance request form: https://southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org/lifeline/. You can also reach our Outreach Department via email at Outreach@sjras.org.
We are also advising pet owners to prepare now in case of quarantines. Families should strive to have the following:
• At least 3 weeks of pet food for EACH pet in the household.
• At least 3 weeks of any medications or health products needed by EACH pet.
• A properly fitted collar and harness, ID with current contact information, a leash in good condition and a properly sized crate or carrier for EACH pet in your family.
• A current photo of your pet themselves, should you become separated.
• Current medical records for your pet with any relevant medical information as well as dates of last vaccinations should the need arise for your pet to be boarded or housed for any reason.
While we strive to support our community, we are asking for the community’s help as well! People have begun stocking up on cleaning and disinfecting supplies — the same supplies that we rely on day in and day out to keep our facility clean, sanitized, and safe for people and animals. We are in need of donations of such supplies.
We are seeking emergency foster homes in the event that shelter population reaches capacity. Foster homes are life-saving in ordinary circumstances; in times of crisis they become even more valuable. It may actually be the perfect time to foster — health organizations are recommending quarantines for everyone. The less you are out and about the less the virus spreads — which protects everyone. If you are going to be hanging at home with the family, why not invite a homeless dog or cat to spend that time with you? Please visit our fostering page online at https://southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org/volunteer_main/foster/ or reach out to our Foster Coordinator at Fosters@sjras.org.
We’ll be continuing to keep you updated about any limitations to services, events or other important developments in this rapidly changing situation. As it evolves, you can always find the latest information on our website or via our social media channels. For the latest information about COVID-19, please visit cdc.gov or your local health department website. A hotline for residents with general COVID-19 questions can be called at (856) 405-4603 or there is a 24-hour hotline at 1 (800) 222-1222.