COVID-19: An Update from the Director of Animal Services

At Rochester Animal Services, the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, community and the animals in our care is our highest priority. As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, we are closely monitoring the situation here in our community and are making the best decisions we can with the information we have.

Our staff will continue to follow all CDC guidelines regarding social distancing, frequent handwashing and use of 60% or higher alcohol-based sanitizer. We are frequently cleaning the facility using our regular virucidal disinfectant. We are also insisting that anyone who is feeling ill or believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 stay home, call their doctor and take good care of themselves. Our staff have paid sick time and we will be flexible with anyone who is ill for an extended period.

We are staying abreast of expert recommendations from national leaders throughout the animal welfare industry. The shelter is closed to normal visits but we are facilitating lost pet recovery by appointment. Adoptions are also proceeding by appointment. We have established an emergency foster care program and many animals have already left the shelter to help us prepare for possible increased intake and staff absences. We are in the process of placing as many of the remaining animals into foster care as possible and will continue to do so throughout this crisis.

Events happening in March and April have been cancelled in accordance with guidelines from local officials regarding large gatherings. The Fast & The Furriest® event on June 6th is currently still scheduled to go on as planned, however, we will continue to follow local health department recommendations or any official decisions that include banning large events. We will keep you informed about this event.

You can stay updated on all things pertaining to Rochester Animal Services by visiting the RAS website and following VSAS social media channels. If you have specific questions, contact us at

Thank you for your trust in and support of Rochester Animal Services. We are making decisions on behalf of many animals and people, and we do not take these decisions lightly.


Chris Fitzgerald
Director of Animal Services