The South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter has joined with the Humane Society of the United States and seven New Jersey-based animal welfare organizations to provide guidelines for pet owners in case they are impacted by COVID-19. We urge you to have a plan in place for your pets should you be unable to care for them due to the need to isolate yourself or be hospitalized.
Shelters are urging residents to have a preparedness plan in place:
1. Find a temporary caregiver to take on your pets if you are hospitalized. The best place for your pet, even if you are sick, is with you in your home. However, you may become too ill to care for your pet. It's important to identify two potential caregivers and speak with them so they're prepared should they be called to action. Contact neighbors, family, friends, pet-sitters and boarding facilities. The most ideal situation for you and your pets is for them to remain in the temporary care of a trusted caregiver and out of an animal shelter.
2. Prepare a pet supply kit. It may not seem necessary today, but having proper supplies and information in place in advance is critical if you find yourself in an emergency situation.
Your kit should include:
Name and contact information for the person who can care for your pets
Name and contact information for your back-up in case your go-to is no longer able to help
Food, treats, a leash, toys and any other supplies necessary to care for your pet for at least two weeks
A crate or carrier to transport your pet
Collar with ID tags (don't forget to make sure their microchip information is up to date)
Medications and prescriptions, along with instructions
Daily care instructions
Your veterinarian's contact information
3. Know the facts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that people can get COVID-19 from pets. The best place for your animal is inside the home they know and love. If you aren't feeling well but are still able to provide care for your pet, please keep them at home with you where they're most comfortable. With your whole family on board and a plan in place, you'll feel better about your pet's safety knowing they're in good hands no matter what challenges may arise.
In addition, keeping area animal shelters free of long-term care animals allows them to be better prepared for the onset of kitten season, stray pets and animal care cases that require immediate attention.
In the midst of this crisis, animal shelters provide essential services to both animals and their owners. The staff at SJRAS is here to help in whatever way they can. If you have questions or concerns, please call us at (856) 691-1500 or go to our website at sjras.org for assistance.