GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – As the coronavirus pandemic grows, area animal shelters are asking those who want extra company while social distancing, to foster a pet.
Staff at both All 4 Paws Animal Rescue and Saint Frances Animal Center say, they face an extreme lack of funding amid canceled fundraising events.
“We rely a lot on the community as far as donations, volunteers coming in to help walk the dogs, help clean and things like that so it’s definitely put a damper on that,” Ryan Holcomb, community liaison at Saint Frances said. “A lot has fallen on the staff, to pick up extra work and spread themselves a little bit thinner.”
A sentiment also felt at All 4 Paws, where the majority of their volunteers are older than 50; the most at-risk population for COVID-19.
“We sent all of those guys home first and closed to the general public, and then we were like, “Oh gosh we have all these animals still to take care of,” So we put out pleas for foster homes and honestly the community really stepped up,” Allison Gillespie, operations manager at All 4 Paws said.
All 4 Paws and Saint Frances staff say the biggest way you can help though, is through fostering.
Gillespie told News13, they are preparing for an influx of pets as the coronavirus outbreak worsens, so getting animals into foster homes allows them to have more empty kennels and be ready for new arrivals.
“The National Animal Control organization has told us to not take in right now, because when this does hit and people get sick we may have an influx of people’s own personal animals, and the normal strays will start to accumulate too,” Gillespie explained.
To encourage more foster homes, people who foster through Saint Frances Animal Center won’t have to supply the animals food.
“If you foster, you get a bag of food to go with that animal,” Regina Paschal, volunteer coordinator at Saint Frances said. “We provide the food and you provide the home.”
The staff at Saint Frances is also making sure people who are medically quarantined and can’t get out to pick up dog or cat food, have access to it.
“We knock on the door, drop off the dog food or cat food and then we leave so that way they aren’t exposed to us if they’re medically quarantined,” Paschal said.
Paschal said they also want to make sure pets of people who are out of work due to COVID-19 are fed too.
“They can actually call us and we’ve been setting out food in front of the shelter with people’s names on it for them to pick up outside the shelter on our benches,” Paschal explained.
All 4 Paws staff says, they’ve had to get creative during this time of uncertainty as the number of adoptions as slowed. Gillespie says they even have plans to begin virtual adoptions through Facetime with foster homes.
For more information on fostering through All 4 Paws, click here.
The pet on Regina Paschal’s lap during the interview is the longest tenured resident at Saint Frances. Satu has been there nearly a year and half. For more information about him, or other animals available to foster, click here.
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