COVID-19: Letter from the Director of Animal Services

Dear Friends,

As of today, there are now two confirmed case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Monroe County. With the number of cases in New York on the rise, many are wondering what impact this disease will have on our families and community. At Rochester Animal Services, we know how important your pets are to you and you may be worrying how this disease will affect them.

With this is mind, I wanted to reach out to you with the most current information. COVID-19 is contagious for humans and, as of now, is understood to spread primarily from person to person. The WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) Global Veterinary Community—an association representing more than 200,000 veterinarians—states that there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection to other animals or to humans. It is of course a rapidly evolving situation. We encourage you to regularly consult the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization for the most up-to-date information.

Even though our pets cannot contract the virus, they can still be impacted by its effect on our community. By remaining calm and planning ahead, we can all help to ensure that our pets remain cared for during this troubling time. To help your family put together a plan for you and your pets, please visit our friends at Lollypop Farm’s website. You’ll find useful information about what provisions your pet will need if you were quarantined. The following are some key points to consider:

  • People should identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if someone in the household becomes ill.
  • Have crates, food and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets.
  • Keep all animal vaccines up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions. Including the prescription from your veterinarian is also helpful.
  • Pets should have identification: collar with ID tag and microchip (best practice is microchipping).

At this time, the Rochester Animal Services Center remains open to the public. We have many homeless pets awaiting new families and we encourage you to continue to visit and consider adopting. Our staff and volunteers are diligently working to protect the health and well-being of our visitors and of course, the pets in our care. Our operations will continue although we will minimize activities that involve large groups. We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated as changes happen. Please check the Rochester Animal Services website for updates on hours, information and adoptable animals.

Christopher S. Fitzgerald, Director, Rochester Animal Services