Adapting and overcoming- Coronavirus changes how animal shelters opperate

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 6:48 PM AKDT
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If you're an animal person, you're probably itching, not from fleas, but from anticipation to get back into the shelters and volunteer your time again. The Coronavirus pandemic has transformed how animals shelters operate nation wide, including here in Anchorage.

Over at Anchorage Animal Care and Control, that means not meeting animals without an appointment, wearing masks and making sure as many animals as possible are being taken in and provided for. Laura Atwood, who is the Public Relations and Community Outreach for the shelter, says that just last week they opened their lobby to the public- but only the lobby.

"We're doing that because if you've ever been here you know that many of our kennel areas are very tight so it's hard to ask people and our staff to maintain appropriate physical distancing within our kennel areas," Atwood says.

Atwood says that those looking to adopt an animal can go to their website to see the animals available for adoption before coming in and asking to meet them. If you're not looking to adopt though, there are other way you can help out. One of the biggest ways, Atwood says, is by sharing posts on social media.

"Last week we had 5 guinea pigs who needed homes.That post was shared close to 450 times and we got all 5 guinea pigs adopted," Atwood says, "So that was awesome.So from the comfort of your home and using your smart phone you can help animals find homes."

And of course, donations are always accepted and very much needed. Right now, the top items on the shelters list is cat food, cat litter, dog food and blankets and bedding, according to Atwood.

A couple months ago, Channel 2 reported that animal adoptions were skyrocketing due to more people being home because of nation-wide hunker down mandates. This is something Atwood says they've experienced at Anchorage Animal Care and Control- but that she isn't worried it's a problem.

"What we're experiencing is that the people who adopted, adopted because they felt like it was a good time to bring an animal into their lives," she says, "They were home, they had time to get that animal settled in, and those animals are still with them, so we're really appreciative of that."

Atwood says that since March 16, the shelter has adopted out 301 animals.

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