Denver area animal shelters closed their doors as the state ordered people to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, but those who run the agencies are doing their best to provide services to dogs and cats who need help.
Multiple shelters moved animals to foster homes, reporting they found plenty of volunteers. The greatest need is money, especially since two shelter’s major spring fundraisers have been canceled, and as an economic collapse could force pet owners to give up their animals because of financial hardship.
The Denver Dumb Friends League, Humane Society of Boulder Valley and the Aurora Animal Shelter will continue to offer euthanasia and will accept animals whose owners feel they can no longer afford to keep them, officials said.
But the shelter operators hope they can assist pet owners before they are forced to surrender a beloved companion.
Owners should call their local shelter and ask what resources are available, Aurora spokesman Michael Bryant said.
“We really want to keep people with their animals as much as possible,” he said.
Aurora and the Denver Dumb Friends League provide food and medical resources. The Humane Society of Boulder Valley offers free pet food and supplies, discounted veterinary services and free behavioral support.
“We are absolutely still here for our community and the animals,” Amanda Boerman, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, said. “We recognize that some people may need to make really difficult decisions.”
The Humane Society closed its doors Wednesday, and Boerman said it is too early to tell whether there will be an influx of animals due to job losses. The shelter is still able to take in new animals but only by appointment.
The animal shelters reduced their staffs to abide by social distancing guidelines and to balance the animals’ needs with a revenue decline, Boerman said. At the Denver Dumb Friends League, staff members were reorganized so that volunteers who work with adoptions are now caring for the animals inside the shelter.
“Our pets are still being very well cared for,” said Denver Dumb Friends League spokeswoman Maia Brusseau.
In Boulder, healthy animals were moved to foster homes. New arrivals will stay until an owner claims them or they are medically cleared for foster homes, Boerman said.
“Our foster families have stepped up and we are so grateful,” Humane Society of Boulder Valley CEO Jan McHugh-Smith said.
Pet owners should have a backup plan for their animals if they get sick.
“I would say, ‘Prepare.’ Make sure that you have supplies, food and a backup caregiver,’” McHugh-Smith said.
The Humane Society and the Denver Dumb Friends League reorganized major fundraisers amid virus concerns. The Humane Society postponed its Putting on the Leash auction fundraiser, Boerman said.
The Dumb Friends League moved its Furry Scurry, scheduled for May 2, online. Participants can walk their dog wherever they choose and share selfies on social media, Brusseau said. The organization hopes to hold its Furry Scurry party later in the year.
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