Humane Society: Include pets in preparedness plans for coronavirus in Utah

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A woman wearing face mask, walks her dogs in Hong Kong, Thursday, March 5, 2020. Pet cats and dogs cannot pass the new coronavirus to humans, but they can test positive for low levels of the pathogen if they catch it from their owner. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – With the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Utah and worldwide on the rise, the Utah Humane Society says it is important that residents include their pets in preparedness plans.

So far, there is no evidence dogs, cats, or other household pets can spread coronavirus and officials with the Humane Society say there have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming infected with the virus in the U.S.

The CDC has also advised that there is no evidence that companion animals can spread coronavirus and there is “no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.” They added, however, that it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with animals.

Related: Gov. Herbert orders ‘soft closure’ of public schools to prevent spread of coronavirus in Utah

Officials with the Humane Society said Utahns can expect that their offices will be open during regular business hours to help with preventing the spread of coronavirus in Utah.

Here are some things the Humane Society says Utahn cans expect:

  • Keeping it clean: The facility uses hospital-grade disinfectant throughout the shelter, and high-touch areas are being cleaned daily.
  • Staying sanitized: There are hand washing stations and hand sanitizer throughout the shelter. Any visitors to the facility are encouraged to wash their hands or sanitize between touching animals to prevent the spread of any illness.
  • Stay home: The organization is asking employees and public citizens who are sick to stay home. We are also reminding employees to practice good hand hygiene, cover coughs and sneezes, and get a flu shot.
  • Minimizing larger gatherings: The organization is taking extra precautions by putting a hold on new in-person volunteer orientations and events to minimize traffic and large groups for the time being. The annual Wags to Wishes fundraising gala has been postponed until Aug. 1, 2020.

Here is how you can help prevent the spread of coronavirus in Utah:

  • Donate: As a local, private nonprofit organization, the organization depends on service fees, donations, fundraisers, and adoptions to keep their lights on and doors open to serve the community. You can make a donation at UtahHumane.org/donate.
  • Create a plan: They encourage all pet owners to have an emergency plan in place for their pets. Make sure pets are wearing proper identification, updated on their vaccinations, and have crates, extra food, and supplies on hand. Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions. Including the prescription from your veterinarian is also helpful.
  • If you become ill: You and your pet should stay at home. When possible, have another family member or friend care for your animals. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask. The virus can live for hours on many surfaces, including your pet’s fur.
  • Reducing non-urgent intake: The organization will be asking owners who are not facing an immediate crisis to hold their pets for up to four weeks if they are able to surrender at a later date. For any pet owners who need to surrender immediately, they will still take their pets at their scheduled intake time. You can schedule a phone consultation to discuss your situation and get help.
  • Adopt: They still need to find new loving homes for the animals in our care! Their adoption center will remain open during regular business hours.
  • Foster: The organization says they are in need of foster volunteers who are ready and willing to open their homes to a foster pet. Some animals need a place to stay outside of the shelter to recover from an illness, injury, or surgery. Puppies and kittens need a caretaker until they are old enough to be adopted. For more information, please contact foster@utahhumane.org or call 801-261-2919 ext. 215.

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