Emergency fosters needed at Pima Animal Care Center

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The Pima Animal Care Center is asking members of the public to adopt pets or pledge to adopt a pet for two weeks to help empty the shelter due to a critical COVID-related staffing shortage. Shelter officials are also asking people to avoid returning healthy pets, according to guidelines provided by the National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA). The NACA is advising animal shelters to take additional steps to reduce shelter attendance to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19.

Monica Dangler, director of animal services at PACC, said adoptions would continue and animal protection officers would continue to respond to high priority and emergency calls. These calls include responding to injured or sick strays, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, dangerous and aggressive dog complaints, and more.

“We’ve been at full capacity since June and are now reaching a critical staffing level due to the contagiousness of the Omicron variant,” Dangler said. “Like many other businesses at the moment, we are seeing staff falling ill despite being vaccinated, so we need to drastically reduce the number of pets in the shelter to be able to provide proper care.”

There are seven ways people can help the shelter.

1. NECESSARY FIREPLACES: The shelter is also looking for around 300 emergency foster families, who can immediately take in a pet for at least two weeks. PACC will need foster homes for all types of pets, but accommodations for medium and large dogs and pets with medical conditions will be most needed. PACC provides veterinary care, crates, supplies and food. People interested in a foster family can stop by the shelter during opening hours to choose a pet.

2. WAIVER OF ADOPTION FEE: Help PACC create a cushion of space by adopting a pet today. The shelter is in need of adoptions to continue avoiding critical overcrowding during the upcoming kitten and puppy season which will begin in the next one to two weeks.

The shelter is also offering extended hours January 20-22 in hopes of bringing more pets into the homes of Pima County residents:

Thursday and Friday: noon to 9 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

All pets at the shelter currently have a $0 adoption fee. There is an additional $20 license fee for each adopted dog over 4 months old.

3. Hang on to stray pets: The PACC is also asking people who find stray pets friendly to consider hosting them for two weeks until the shelter can resume normal operations. Pets usually stay close to home when they go missing, making it much quicker to get them home without having to put up with the stress of the shelter. Wandering finders can take the animal to a veterinary clinic or PACC to look for a microchip, file a found report, and hold the animal to give the owner time to locate it. Finders can file a found report by texting “FOUND” to (833) 552-0591.

The PACC is accepting emergency admissions only and is trying to keep the number of pets in the shelter as low as possible to prepare for the next few weeks of higher than usual admissions. The shelter is asking pet owners who want to give up their pets to keep them during this outbreak, unless it’s a real emergency.

“Every day we take in more animals than we adopt,” Dangler said. “Weeks and weeks of this led to a shelter full of pets. It was difficult before, but now it is more than difficult.

4. LEAVE THE KITTENS ALONE: Unless the kittens are sick or in immediate danger, the shelter asks people to leave them with their mothers, where they have the best chance of survival. Here is a helpful page on when kittens should be taken to the shelter.

5. PLAN AHEAD: Pet owners are encouraged to make plans for their pets in case anyone in the home gets sick. People should stock up on pet supplies for an additional two weeks and identify a pet sitter who can help them if the pet owner is hospitalized.

The safest place for pets is in their own home, so people should ask family members, neighbors or friends if they could care for their pets if they were to be hospitalized . Pet owners should note their pet’s diet and feeding schedule, any medications they need, and other special instructions.

6. SPREAD THE WORD: People can tell their friends, family and colleagues that PACC needs adopters, foster families and donations to continue supporting rescue efforts. People can share our posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

All adopted pets will be spayed or neutered, with age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipped, and a free vet visit to participating vet clinics. A $20 license fee will apply for dogs. The PACC is located at 4000 N. Silverbell Road.

7. REQUIRED DONATIONS: People who cannot adopt or foster can donate to PACC’s official nonprofit partner, Friends of Pima Animal Care Center. Friends of PACC needs help buying foster supplies, providing emergency medical funding for sick and injured pets, and providing support for vulnerable pet owners. Donations can be made at friendsofpacc.org/support-us.

The most needed items are:

  • Large crates
  • Exercise pen of 42″ or more
  • Food
  • leashes
  • Necklaces
  • Harness

Critical items can also be purchased directly from the shelter’s Amazon Wish List and shipped directly to PACC.

COVID INFORMATION: For more information on the local impacts of the coronavirus on humans and tips for staying healthy and for others, please follow the dedicated page on the Pima County Health Department website: www.pima. gov/covid19.

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