Today the County of Los Angeles closed all County buildings to the public, including animal care centers. As COVID-19 changes how we currently interact with each other, I’d like to tell you how DACC is responding to this challenge and how pet parents can adapt to these changes in our society.
DACC remains committed to public safety and animal welfare. Our officers remain on duty 24/7 to respond to public safety an animal welfare calls such as dangerous dogs, sick/ill animals, police assistance, animal cruelty investigations, and patrols. To adhere to social distancing recommendations, less urgent calls are being deferred until further notice.
Our animal care centers continue to care for lost or unwanted animals and reunite them with their families or find them new adoptive homes. During this closure, the health and safety of the animals in our care remains our top priority. Please know that during this time, no animals will be euthanized unless they are irremediably suffering, dangerous, or unable to eat without assistance. We will remain true to our mission and continue to serve those who need us.
In order to provide safe environments for our visitors and staff, we have made some modifications to our services to reduce social contact. We have taken several steps to reducing foot traffic in our ACCs so we can provide a safer environment for everyone. Non-essential activities are being deferred or handled via mail or telephone. Adopters and people searching for their lost pets will be allowed to do so by appointment. We are asking the public to renew pet licenses online or by mail, and they are being given a 30-day grace period for late submissions. Pet owners who wish to surrender their pets are asked to delay surrendering them at this time, if possible. We encourage those who have lost or found animals to download the Shadow app at https://shadowapp.com to perform community-centered pet reunifications and lessen the need to come to an ACC. Additionally, those who wish to surrender stray, healthy cats are asked to not bring them to an ACC until the public health recommendation for social distancing is removed. Please check our website and follow us on social media to get latest news about DACC’s activities.
But what about you and your pets? There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmissible between pets and their families. With that good news, make sure you are prepared to care for your pet during the pandemic.
We always suggest that when preparing for emergencies, pet owners remember their pets and keep a supply of pet food and medicine on hand. Remember that medications can be ordered online or your veterinarian may be willing to ship to your home. Online pet food companies will deliver right to your doorstep. Make sure your pets’ vaccinations and licenses are up to date and their care/feeding/medication instructions are printed out in case you become ill and another person must care for them until you recover. Make plans with friends or family to provide care for your pets if need be.
With these practical matters resolved, now is the time to really focus on your pets and spend some quality time together! Consider how you can use the current social distancing recommendations to enhance the bond between you and your BFF (Best Four-legged Friend). Maybe the dog park isn’t the best place for you to take your dog right now. However, there are many ways to still have fun together. A nice solitary walk with just you and your pal can be a special bonding experience that your dog will really enjoy. Pick a new route and let him sniff and enjoy the world through his nose. Spend some extra time on grooming, give him a nice massage, and don’t forget those belly rubs!
There are many games that will mentally stimulate your dog and keep him moving. Many dogs like to play hide and seek, tug of war, and fetch. Do some nose work with your dog, teach him some new tricks, and brush up on his obedience skills. All these activities will mentally stimulate and exercise your dog. There are many interactive toys you can buy online that can be fun for the both of you.
Cats will also benefit from extra time with you. Additional grooming and petting will be very appreciated. There are many interactive cat toys that are fun to use, such as laser pointers and feather wands. Even something as simple as leaving out some empty paper bags or boxes for cats to explore can be entertaining for them.
But most importantly, your pets just want YOU. Be there for them and be engaged. Use this time to strengthen your relationship and return the unconditional love of your animals. You mean the world to them, and this is an opportunity to return the love and devotion they show every day. Together, we will see this through.