April 9, 2020
By Bethany Kloc, Communications Manager

As the number of Covid-19 cases rise in our area, it’s important to plan for the safety of all our family members, including our pets. SPCA Serving Erie County Officer Tyler Robertson has been on the front lines since the pandemic began helping people and animals. “We’ve received calls from concerned citizens asking what to do with pets who have been in a home with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. If you’re not feeling well, or are showing signs of Covid-19, limit your exposure to your pet. If there is someone else in the home who can care for your pet, it’s a good idea to ask them to take over all the caretaking responsibilities.

“Right now, the SPCA is helping pets of two people who tested positive for Covid-19 and who are now hospitalized. In one case, the manager of the property was caring for the animal, but that’s not a long-term, sustainable solution. In the other case, the family of the person hospitalized can no longer care for their family member’s dog.

“Everything is on a case-by-case basis and because of their specific circumstances, these two pets are going to be surrendered to the SPCA. (They will be segregated from other animals at the shelter.) What we’re struggling with is finding the medical and vaccination records for these animals. It’s difficult when we don’t know animals’ histories and obviously right now, the owners are unable to provide that information.”

This means that having a pet emergency preparedness plan is more valuable than ever. Officer Robertson recommends taking these steps:

– Find a trusted individual to care for your pets should you or anyone in your household become ill or hospitalized. Identify local boarding facilities should you need to utilize out-of-home sheltering options.

– Ensure that each of your pets has identification on his/her collar that contains your current address and phone number. If your pet is microchipped, contact the microchip company to make sure your information is current.

– Ideally, create a folder for each of your pets. Include all current vaccination and veterinary records and a list of all medications and where they can be found in your home. Authorize in writing that your veterinarian may release medical records of your pets to individuals/organizations other than you. (You may even want to call your veterinary hospital and ask them to put a note in your file saying this.)

– Stock up and store essential items in a water-proof container including the following: a 2-week supply of food and water, 2-week supply of medications, litter boxes with litter, and a pet first aid kit.

– Have a proper carrier available with appropriate bedding, blankets, and/or towels. Have a bag ready with food dishes, an extra leash, harness, and toys.

For more information about the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Covid-19 response, please visit this page.