COVID Updates September 2020

It’s been six months since the world around us changed dramatically.  Six months since we took the previously unthinkable steps of halting our adoption program and temporarily closing our spay and neuter clinic. We would have had a hard time envisioning then what our community would look like today.  But with crisis comes opportunity.  And while this global pandemic presented many risks and challenges, it also provided an opportunity for us to rethink and renew practices that had been in place for years.

Like everyone else, the Windsor/ Essex County Humane Society had to adapt to the pandemic and modify our services and procedures to keep our employees and customers safe while still caring for our community’s animals.  Our staff have been heroes providing essential services – coming to work every single day to be there for animals in need.  It wasn’t always easy. Some personal protective equipment was in short supply, and purchase costs escalated.  All the expenses for extra cleaning and supplies for safe interactions were unplanned, and happening at the same time as revenues dropped.  But with the support of our community, we are still able to fulfil our crucial role in society.

Unexpectedly, the crisis was also an opportunity to grow and adapt.  Scheduling non-urgent stray and surrender intakes has allowed us to ensure that we have the resources available to move animals quickly into new homes when they come in, reducing the time they stay with us and allowing an even higher level of care.  And we have found that people often find homes for their animals in the meantime, preventing them from even having to come to a shelter.  Online adoptions without an opportunity to meet an animal prior to taking them home wouldn’t have seemed possible in February, but we’ve got over a thousand happy families who can attest to their success.  

As of September 2020, the following modified procedures are in place:

  • We continue to be available 24 hours a day to answer your questions or respond to urgent situations. Call us at 519-966-5751. Even when we are closed you can reach an officer on call.
  • Adoptions are taking place through a reduced contact process.  Our Adoption Centre remains closed to browsing, but all available animals are posted on our web site.  An application can be submitted online, and an appointment scheduled to come and meet your animal and take them home. We understand that many people are eager to come visit our adoption centre in person, but with the government’s recent cautions about moving too quickly with reopening, we are continuing our adoption program online for the time being.  If you know someone interested in adopting who doesn’t have internet access, please ask them to call us at 519-966-5751, ext 113 to discuss the options.
  • As always, we remain available for urgent intakes of sick/ injured stray animals, sick/ injured/ orphaned wildlife, stray dogs, or situations where protective care is required. All intakes are by appointment (real time appointments are available for urgent situations).  Please call 519-966-5751 if you have found an animal and need to bring them in. 
  • We are accepting stray kittens, although healthy stray cats are often more likely to find their way back home if they are left alone. Research shows that only 2.8% of cats are reunited with their families through a shelter (Shelter Animals Count, 2018) and that 25% of lost cats return home on their own. If you are concerned about a stray cat and thinking of bringing them in, please call us first so we can talk about what the best option is for them. Please note that our spay/neuter clinic is open and accepting appointments if your concern is about a stray cat reproducing.    
  • We are now accepting non-urgent owner surrendered animals by appointment. Please call 519-966-5751 to book an appointment to surrender your pet.  
  • If you have lost your pet, we encourage you to view found stray dogs and cats online. If you believe that your pet is here, please contact us at 519-966-5751 to get more information or to book a time to come claim them.
  • Services are open at our public spay/neuter clinic. We have already spayed or neutered more than 3,000 public animals in 2020!  Appointments are required for all surgeries, including community cats.  For more information or to book an appointment please call 519-966-1118.
  • All in person events, volunteer programs (other than foster volunteers), pet loss meetings, and humane education programming remain on hold.  Staff are still providing animal enrichment to the animals in our care during this time.
  • We are accepting in person donations of items from our wish list.  Monetary donations can also be made in person or online at http://windsorhumane.org/donate-now-2/.

What steps is the Humane Society taking to ensure everyone’s safety? 

The health and safety of our animals and the community continues to be our highest priority.  A number of measures have been implemented to help ensure everyone’s safety, including:

· Physical changes like plexiglass barriers and floor markers, as well as separate waiting areas for adopters, intakes, and fosters with medical appointments.  

· Staggering intake and adoption appointment times to maintain a safe volume of customers and staff and support physical distancing.

· Frequent disinfecting of all high touch surfaces.

· Face coverings are mandatory for all staff and customers. 

· Tap payment for debit or credit transactions under $100 and increased ability to pre-pay by phone prior to your visit.

· Staff are regularly asked to self-assess their own risk and stay home if they are ill, and clients and customers are also asked to stay home if they have risk factors.  

Can I catch the virus from my pet or vice versa? 

Continue to love your pets!  There have been a few cases where cats or dogs living with people who had the virus tested positive, but all are believed to be human to animal transmission. There have not been any reports of transmission from a companion animal to a person, despite a widespread international pandemic.  If you have COVID-19 and have been around your pets, out of caution it’s recommended that you keep your pets inside and away from other people as long as you have the ability to continue to care for them. This will not only prevent the remote risk of them carrying the virus outside the home, but allows both of you to continue to comfort each other.  For a great resource on pets and COVID-19 visit: https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com

How can I prepare now in case I get sick?

It is important to have a plan in place for all members of your household to respond to any emergency, including illness. In addition to preparations typically recommended for any natural disaster threat, have a plan for what would happen if you become ill and need to be hospitalized. Consider what provisions and pet supplies you would need for you and your pet if you were quarantined for an extended period of time, and also consider who would assist if you needed to find temporary alternate housing for your pet should you become unable to care for them. 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.

Pet owners should always have a “pet preparedness plan” in case of emergencies. That includes:

  • 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, a couple of toys, and any other supplies necessary to care for your pet for at least two weeks
  • A crate or carrier to transport your pet
  • Vaccination records
  • Collars with ID tags (and don’t forget to make sure your pet’s microchip information is up to date)
  • Medications and prescriptions, along with a list of instructions
  • Daily care instructions (here is a great sample)
  • Contact information for your veterinary clinic