TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima Animal Care Center is open, but is changing up operations as they attempt to serve pets with emergency medical needs, all while practicing social distancing.
Last April, PACC took in 1,600 pets, so the shelter is preparing now for the kitty and puppy season ahead.
“This is an unprecedented event, and we need the community to come together to help us save lives,” says Director of Animal Services, Kristen Hassen. “We are getting a lot of questions about the biggest needs and we’ve identified seven key ways people can help now.”
- Stay home and foster: People can visit the PACC foster page and sign up to be an on deck foster. The shelter will review their information and will call once they find a pet that would make a good match. Potential fosters can complete the counseling online. Then the shelter will schedule a curbside pick-up of the foster pet.
- Leave kittens alone: Unless the kittens are sick or in immediate danger, the shelter is asking people to leave them with their mothers, where they have the best chance of survival.
- Hold stray pets at home: For friendly, healthy stray pets, the shelter is asking finders to hold onto them, call 724-PACC to file a “Found” Report, get the pet scanned at a veterinarian’s office or the shelter to see if there is a microchip, and hold the pet until the owner has a chance to pick it up. PACC is accepting emergency-only intake and is trying to keep the number of pets in the shelter as low as possible to prepare for the coming weeks of higher-than-usual intake. The shelter is asking pet owners who would like to surrender their pets, to hold onto their pets during this outbreak, unless it is a true emergency.
- Plan ahead: Pet owners should make a plan for their pets in case they get sick and need to be hospitalized. The safest place for pets is in their own home, so people should be asking family members, neighbors or friends if they could care for their pets if they happen to be hospitalized. Pet owners should write down their pet’s diet and feeding schedule, any medications they need, and other special instructions.
- Donate to the Friends of PACC: Friends of PACC needs help purchasing foster supplies, providing emergency medical funding for sick and injured animals, and providing support to vulnerable pet owners. Donations can be made at friendsofpacc.org/support-us. Critical items can also be purchased directly from the shelter’s Amazon Wish List and shipped directly to PACC.
- Adopt: Help PACC create a cushion of space by adopting a pet today. PACC is open Monday to Friday noon to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the shelter has modified operations so people can complete all or most of the adoption process without ever entering the building. Adopters can park in the parking lot and call (520) 724-5942. The shelter needs adoptions to continue to avoid critical overcrowding during the upcoming kitten and puppy season which will start in the next one to two weeks.
- Spread the word: People should tell their friends, family, coworkers, and more that PACC needs adopters, fosters and donations to continue to sustain the lifesaving efforts. People can share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, reminding others that “social distancing doesn’t have to be lonely. Adopt or foster a PACC pet today!”
“If we all work together, and do things a little differently, we can keep pets, whether owned or homeless, safe during this pandemic,” Hassen said. “We are committed and with your help, we can get through this.”
Hassen said adopting a pet right now is truly lifesaving.
“We are preparing for the ongoing impact of increased intakes due to COVID-19 and the busy puppy and kitten season which is just a week or two away,” Hassen said. “If the community acts now, we can prevent overcrowding in the near future. We’re keeping the numbers of people in any given area small, and we’re cleaning and sanitizing several times each day to prevent the spread of disease.”
All pets adopted will come spayed or neutered, with age-appropriate vaccinations, a microchip and a free vet visit. A $20 licensing fee will apply to dogs. PACC is located at 4000 N. Silverbell Road, open Monday through Friday, noon-7 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends.