COVID-19 Updates | Ark-Valley Humane Society





COVID-19 Updates

Our staff is available by appointment only Monday through Saturday every week, however, our shelter lobby is currently closed to the public as a precaution.  We are following CDC recommendations to reduce the potential spreading of COVID-19 to more people. At this time the risk of pets contracting or spreading COVID-19 is considered to be low.

During this time we are still committed to providing essential animal services and support to residents of Chaffee County and are available by phone at 719-395-2737 and email at info@ark-valley.org.  For adoptions, lost or found pets, pet relinquishments, fostering, our pet food bank, pet cremations services, or other questions, please leave us a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

If you have found a stray animal after hours please call Chaffee County Sheriff non-emergency dispatch for assistance.  Their number is 719-539-2596.

 

Resources for those experiencing Housing Insecurity:

 

COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project:

Offers support to renters, there is a process where an affidavit can be completed to hold off evictions until at least January 1st per a federal executive order. To find out more visit their website: https://cedproject.org/.
Colorado Legal Services also offers similar support: https://www.coloradolegalservices.org/

 

AVHS is offering temporary free pet boarding for Chaffee County residents experiencing housing insecurity.

Update: May 14, 2020

Many things are changing during these trying times. One thing AVHS has been discussing as a team frequently is how we can adapt to best meet the needs of our community.

We have offered short term boarding to some owned animals in emergency situations, and we have collected pet food and supplies for local families who have fallen on financial hardship. So far AVHS has helped 30 community pets through direct pick up/drop offs of pet food and supplies to community members in need. AVHS has also been working to make sure local food pantries are stocked with pet food & supplies. Our goal during this time is to be able to provide as much support to families, so they can keep their loved pets in the home.

If you or someone you know is in need of Pet food or assistance, please call us at 719-395-2737 or email info@ark-valley.org

In addition to these new services, we are continuing to serve the public through our normal channels every day. Our lobby will remain closed to promote social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19, but we are available by phone or email 7 days a week between the hours of 12-5:30PM.  We are still doing adoptions, intaking animals, providing cremation services, providing low cost spay/neuter coupons, providing lost and found pet services, providing low cost microchipping, and more. If you are in need of help, or one of these services please call us at 719-395-2737 to schedule an appointment. Please wear a mask and call us from your car when you arrive at the shelter.

We are very lucky that many of the animals who come to our doors get placed in a foster home quite quickly, so no animal has to be in a kennel- we hope to maintain this for as long as possible. We are also seeing an uptick in adoptions, so while our adoptable pets may be low right now, we’re getting in new animals every week- if you’ve been looking to add a new furry friend to your family keep an eye on our Facebook Page and call us when you see an animal you’d like to adopt (they’re going quick!)

Again, we are here to help the pets of Chaffee County, if you have any questions or need any assistance please give us a call or email us, and stay strong Chaffee County!

 

AVMA releases article on SARS-CoV-2 in Animals

CURRENT RECOMMENDATIONS

Despite the number of global cases of COVID-19 surpassing the 2.6 million mark as of April 22, 2020, we are aware of only three pets (two dogs and one cat) in Hong Kong, and a tiger and two pet cats in New York state, that have tested positive, with confirmation, for SARS-CoV-2. Of the pets confirmed to be positive, only two (the cats in New York state) exhibited signs of illness consistent with infection with SARS-CoV-2. Both of the ill cats showed mild signs of illness and are expected to fully recover. No conclusions can responsibly be drawn regarding the cat in Belgium because of questions surrounding collection and analysis of samples for testing for SARS-CoV-2 and the absence of an evaluation of that cat for other, more common causes for its clinical signs. The tiger was said to be exposed via contact with a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus, and some other large cats at the zoo that were apparently housed in proximity did exhibit signs of respiratory disease, but are expected recovering. At this point in time, there is also no evidence that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, can spread COVID-19 to people.

Therefore, the AVMA maintains its current recommendations regarding SARS-CoV-2 and animals. These recommendations, which are supported by guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), are that:

  • Animal owners without symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to practice good hygiene during interactions with animals. This includes washing hands before and after such interactions and when handling animal food, waste, or supplies.
  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors, when possible, to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals. Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
  • Until more is known about the virus, those ill with COVID-19 should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. Have another member of your household or business take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any animals, including pets.  If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, including pets, then wear a cloth face covering; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them, and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
  • At this point in time, there is no evidence to suggest that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, that may be incidentally infected by humans play a role in the spread of COVID-19.
  • Routine testing of animals for SARS-CoV-2 is NOT recommended. Veterinarians are strongly encouraged to rule out other, more common causes of illness in animals before considering testing for SARS-CoV-2 (see additional information under “Testing Animals for SARS-CoV-2”).
  • Human outbreaks are driven by person-to-person transmission. Accordingly, we see no reason to remove pets from homes even if COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household, unless there is risk that the pet itself is not able to be cared for appropriately.
KEEPING PETS SAFE

For responsible pet owners, preparing in advance is key. Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared, with at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s food and any needed medications. Usually we think about emergency kits like this in terms of what might be needed for an evacuation, but it’s also good to have one prepared in the case of quarantine or self-isolation when you cannot leave your home.

Other appropriate practices include not letting pets interact with people or other animals outside the household; keeping cats indoors, if possible, to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people; walking dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals; and avoiding dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

If you are ill with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed with a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with other people; have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick; avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

While we are recommending these as good practices, it is important to remember that there is currently no reason at this time to think that domestic animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with SARS-CoV-2. Accordingly, there is no reason to remove pets from homes where COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household, unless there is risk that the pet itself is not able to be cared for appropriately. In this emergency, pets and people each need the support of the other and veterinarians are there to support the good health of both.

LINK TO FULL ARTICLE HERE HTTPS://WWW.AVMA.ORG/RESOURCES-TOOLS/ANIMAL-HEALTH-AND-WELFARE/COVID-19/SARS-COV-2-ANIMALS-INCLUDING-PETS

Update: April 8th, 2020

Ark-Valley Humane Society continues essential services

April 8, 2020 – With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the rise in Chaffee County, Ark-Valley Humane Society continues to provide essential services to residents and pets during the stay at home order.  Shelter staff is available 7 days a week by phone and email to assist the public and can be reached at 719-395-2737 or info@ark-valley.org.  The shelter lobby remains closed to the public to minimize exposure for staff and volunteers. Shelter animals are being cared for in foster homes during this time.  Services the shelter provides include stray intakes of dogs running at large, stray intakes of sick or injured cats, relinquishments for pets at risk, reclaims, lost and found listings, adoptions, and pet cremations.  If a stray dog is found after hours, law enforcement has access to both shelter locations in Buena Vista and Salida and may be contacted for assistance. Additional services offered during the stay at home order include distribution of pet food and supplies to families with pets that have been financially impacted and need assistance.  According to the CDC, “At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States. Although there have not been reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the new coronavirus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.” It is important to have a preparedness plan in place for your pet if you become sick.  More information about pets and COVID-19 is available at the shelter website at www.ark-valley.org.

Community members who are eager to help offset the potential impact on pets related to COVID-19 are encouraged to donate pet food by contacting info@ark-valley.org.

Update: April 1st, 2020
Please read this article to learn more about pets and COVID-19.
We will be holding a Pet Food & Supply Drive on April 10th in an effort to come together as a community to help those pet families affected by Covid-19. All supplies will be used to keep local food pantries supplied with dog & cat food, kitten & puppy food, and cat litter. You can drop off Pet Food and/or supplies at our Salida location, 247 W Hwy 50, from 9-11 AM, or at our Buena Vista location, 701 Gregg Drive from 1-3 PM on April 10th. For more information click here.
Update: March 30, 2020

At the time of this writing, experts believe it is highly unlikely that our pets can get nor can they spread COVID-19.

Ark-Valley Humane Society has placed many animals into foster homes and continues to provide adoption services by appointment.  The CDC supports this by stating, “there is no reason to think that any animals, including shelter pets, in the United States might be a source of COVID-19.”
The OIE, the World Health Organization for Animal Health states that there is no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of the disease.  The World Health Organization (WHO) currently advises, “there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.”  The CDC seconds that opinion stating that, “at this time there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets can spread COVID-19.”
Experts explain that if a human with the COVID-19 had sneezed on a dog, the risk of another person petting the animal and contracting the disease is low.  The virus survives longer on hard, inanimate surfaces.  It is believed to remain on glass and metal surfaces for as long as 5 days and cardboard as long as one day.  Porous materials such as pet fur absorb and trap pathogens making it harder to contract them through touch.
With the current stay at home order from the Governor of Colorado people are still encouraged to get outside for walks with their dogs, just remain 6 feet away from others. Continue to be responsible owners when walking your pet.  Obey leash laws and pick up after your pet. Provide ample space for others to pass when your paths cross.
If you become symptomatic, the CDC has the following recommendations.  “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the new coronavirus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.”
For updated information about COVID-19 and pets, go to cdc.gov and click on the COVID-19 link.  Under FAQs there is a section called “COVID-19 and Animals”.
Ark-Valley Humane Society lobby is closed to the public and volunteers, however we are available by phone 7 days a week and animal shelter services continue to be offered by appointment.  These are uncharted, unusual times.  Loving your pets is healthy and according to authorities safe.  Be well.

March 16, 2020:

Our shelter is temporarily closed to the public as a precaution.  We are following CDC recommendations to reduce the potential spreading of COVID-19 to more people.  Pets are not at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.

During this time we are committed to providing essential animal services and support to residents of Chaffee County and are available by phone and email at info@ark-valley.org between the hours of 8 am and 5:30 pm.  Please leave us a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.   

If you have a stray animal, please call us at 719-395-2737 to make arrangements for assistance.  If you have found a stray animal after hours please call Chaffee County Sheriff non-emergency dispatch for assistance.  Their number is 719-539-2596.

For members of the public who need to bring us a deceased animal for cremation services, we ask that they call our main shelter phone number 719-395-2737 to make arrangements. 

March 13, 2020:

The Shelter will be closed starting Saturday March 14th to the public as a precaution. We’re following CDC recommendations to reduce the potential of spreading coronavirus to more people.

Need Help? Call us at 719-395-2737 or email info@ark-valley.org

Ark-Valley Humane will be closed to the public starting Saturday, March 14 for an undetermined period of time. This decision came out of an abundance of caution and in response to health officials’ recommendation to reduce face-to-face contact to prevent the spread of infectious disease. “Our commitment to providing essential animal services to Chaffee County residents remains as strong as ever,” said Executive Director, Amber van Leuken. “Shelter animals will receive ongoing care and enrichment and many, if not all, will be placed in foster care until we are able to reopen the shelter.” The shelter had been proactively managing its intake to maintain a lower animal population in preparation for such a scenario, and as a result, it expects most — if not all — of the 20 pets currently in its care to be placed within its network of foster volunteers. Any pet not able to be matched with a foster volunteer will continue to have their needs met by onsite animal care staff. All shelter-based volunteer activities have been cancelled and essential animal care duties will be performed by staff only.  Services and activities that were scheduled to happen within the timeframe of this temporary public closure will be suspended and rescheduled for later dates. Additionally, all staff not required onsite for direct animal care will be encouraged to work remotely. “Our staff will be available to answer phones, emails, and messages through the Ark-Valley Humane Society Facebook page. We will continue to offer limited services to ensure that stray animals and essential community needs continue to be met,” van Leuken said. “Our goal is to protect our community of both people and pets from unnecessary exposure to groups of people and to contribute to our county’s efforts to slow transmission by reducing gatherings of people. We greatly appreciate the community’s support as we work to ensure public safety and provide our staff and volunteers with the opportunity to focus on their own health and personal care.” This precautionary measure does not mean that the shelter’s animals are in danger of either contracting or transmitting this infection. Veterinary officials worldwide are in agreement that there is no evidence that dogs or cats can become ill from this strain or serve as a carrier of the infection. “For now, the best way you can protect your pets is by protecting yourself. “Additionally, this is a good opportunity to review your pets’ role in your disaster preparedness plan.” Both Ark-Valley Humane Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pet owners keep on hand the following: a two-week supply of food for each pet in your care, a two-week supply of each pet’s medications, and a file that contains each pet’s care plan, vaccination and ownership records, microchip information, and a preferred contact in case of emergency. As this is a fluid situation, the shelter asks that the public monitor its website, https://www.ark-valley.org/services/covid-19updates/, and their social media channels for regular updates, as the closure timeline is subject to change based on guidance received from local and national public health officials.

March 11, 2020:

PRESS RELEASE

Ark-Valley Humane Society suggests including pets in preparedness plan amid COVID-19 concerns 

March 10, 2020 – With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 on the rise worldwide, it is important for Chaffee County residents to include their pets in preparedness plans.

Ark-Valley Humane Society 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 Chaffee 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 comes 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.

Ark-Valley Humane Society 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 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 on pets related to COVID-19 are encouraged to inquire about fostering by contacting eluebbering@ark-valley.org.  

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.

 

For more information click here

If you have any questions please contact us at info@ark-valley.org or 719-395-2737.