By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
UPDATE: March 27, 2020. OKC Animal Welfare is offering adoptions by APPOINTMENT ONLY to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adoption fees will remain cut in half to $30 to help ensure homeless pets are still adopted as the shelter enters its busy season.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – OKC Animal Welfare is making changes to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect public safety. One method, is to temporarily lower adoption fees to help reduce overcrowding in the shelter. The reduction in adoption fees to $30 is critical to ensure animals are still adopted as OKC Animal Welfare enters its busy season.
As the number of coronavirus cases increases in the U.S., government officials are asking that citizens practice social distancing, self-monitoring and self-quarantine in some situations, to help decrease the public spread of the disease.
In order to cope with so much isolation, this could be the perfect time to think about adopting a dog or cat.
Ganzert says there is no evidence that dogs and cats can transmit COVID-19.
“At American Humane we say, ‘Only their unconditional love is contagious,’” she said. “These companion animals are only going to help make us healthier. They’re going to remove anxiety and (the stress hormone) cortisol from our bodies and allow us to have stronger immune systems, quite frankly, to fight the pandemic.”
Other changes to be implemented by OKC Animal Welfare through at least April 12 include:
- Only 20 visitors will be allowed inside the OKC Animal Welfare shelter.
- Drop-off of stray animals will be moved to a drive-through area to reduce the number of people who need to enter the shelter.
- Volunteer work inside the shelter is suspended.
- Observation visiting is suspended.
- Adoption and volunteer events are canceled
These changes will make it as safe as possible to continue normal operations and protect residents, employees and homeless pets, said OKC Animal Welfare Superintendent Jon Gary.
“Everything is moving quickly, as we all know, so we will alert everyone if we have to make more changes,” said Gary. “We will be doing our best to follow the latest public health guidance, and provide the safest possible environment for everyone while we provide these critical services.”
Updates about all City services and other local guidance and resources are being posted daily at covid19.okc.gov.
The OKC Animal Welfare shelter is located at 2811 SE 29th Street.
All adoptable animals at OKC Animal Welfare are up-to-date on vaccinations, microchipped, treated for worms and spayed or neutered.
OKC Animal Welfare launched the Alive in the 405 campaign last year to raise awareness about reaching its longtime goal of a 90 percent live release rate. The live release rate is the percentage of animals entering the shelter that leave the shelter alive by reunification with their owner, adoption, or transfer to one of OKC Animals Welfare’s many partner groups.
A rate of 90 percent is considered a realistic goal for a large community like Oklahoma City, where many animals in the shelter’s care have serious injuries, illnesses or uncorrectable behavior problems.
According to the website, a generation ago, the live release rate in Oklahoma City was below 50 percent. In recent years, it has surged to more than 85 percent. OKC Animal Welfare needs the public’s help to get over the top. Click here for more information about Alive in the 405.
For a complete listing of all available pets, visit okc.gov/animalwelfare. For more information, call 405-297-3100.