Sheltering pets in the pandemic

Cattery manager Hannah Washington bottle-feeds a tiny kitten at Greenhill Humane Society. MEGAN BREZOVAR/PHOTO

Amid the hardships of COVID-19, there’s at least one bright spot: animal adoptions and foster volunteers have not decreased, and intakes have not increased at Greenhill Humane Society of Eugene.

“We have had 100-plus foster applicants, which has been so great – especially since Kitten Season has begun,” said event and community engagement manager Megan Brezovar. “We have not experienced an increase in animals coming in, but we have experienced many more phone calls and inquiries about resources and services.”

During the pandemic:

Adoptions, returns to owners and surrenders by appointment only: 541-689-1503.

Strays accepted with attempts made to find their family while on stray hold. “If a finder is willing to hold onto the animal, we will assist in finding the owner,” Brezovar noted. Take cats found in Cottage Grove or Creswell to Humane Society of Cottage Grove; take dogs to Cottage Grove Police Department (in Creswell, check with City Hall). Animals transferred to Greenhill if owners not found.

Intake assesses shelter inventory levels, with staff prioritizing animals unsafe in their current situation.

Cat and rabbit intake prioritizing sick, injured, bottle-babies, visibly pregnant or in-danger animals.

Animals known to be exposed to COVID-19 are quarantined for two weeks, handled wearing PPEs.

All non-emergency veterinary surgeries – including spay/neuter – temporarily suspended. 

“All animals that are intact and being adopted out during this time will be returning for surgery once we get the OK from the government,” Brezovar said. Greenhill does not offer public spay/neuter but does spay/neuters for HSCG.

“We’re asking people to avoid surrendering healthy pets, following the guidance provided by the National Animal Care & Control Association,” Brezovar said. “NACA is advising animal shelters to take extra measures to reduce shelter intake to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19. But if there is no other option we are taking in surrenders and rehoming them.” Last year, Greenhill helped reunite or rehome more than 3,000 animals. 

Last month, despite COVID-19, Greenhill helped more than 265 animals: 116 strays, 98 owner-surrendered and 56 in critical situations; reunited 72 animals with their families; and found new families for 137.

“We have been adopting out lots of happy animals, which is pretty amazing during a global pandemic,” Brezovar said.



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