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Pima Animal Care Center experiences first ever staff shortage due to COVID-19

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 7:19 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima Animal Care Center is once again in crisis mode. This time it’s not just from overcrowding. For the first time ever, the shelter is experiencing a staffing shortage.

At least a dozen of their team members are out because they are positive for COVID-19 or they have been exposed to the virus.

The shelter is reaching out to the public for help. They need 300 emergency fosters who can immediately house a pet for at least two weeks. PACC needs fosters of all kinds, but especially for medium and large dogs.

″We’ve just gotten overwhelmed with animals coming in. we’re at capacity and at the same time we’re starting to feel what everyone else is feeling with staffing. We’re down to a skeleton crew in most of our teams due to COVID,” Director, Monica Dangler said.

Several of PACC’s teams are down to one staff member. They anticipate that the staff who aren’t infected could be in the next few days. She says this is why they are trying to empty out the shelter.

“We need either adopters or fosters. Fosters for two weeks, we’re hoping in about two weeks our staff will come back and we’ll be back to a full a full team,” she said.

Dangler says the community has always been there for PACC and she hopes they will come through again in this time of crisis.

The shelter has seen record numbers of intakes for months. They receive an average of 50 to 80 animals each day. Right now, PACC is only taking emergency owner surrenders until their staffing returns to normal.

“We’re seeing a lot more abandonments coming in. so, that’s really just impacted our intake. It is all these additional pets coming in. people are unable to afford their pets,” Dangler said.

The easiest way to help the shelter is to foster.

Sara Voorhees and Barry Weissman have been fostering for years. They say fostering makes a huge difference in their lives and the animal’s lives.

“Most of these dogs are well-behaved and well-trained. So it’s just like another member of the family,” Weissman said.

They have some advice for anyone who is on the fence about fostering.

“Just try it once and see if you like it and see if the dog likes you. You don’ have to adopt the dog, just give the dog a break. Wouldn’t you want a break?” Vorhees said.

PACC is also extending their hours in hopes of getting more animals into homes. They will be open from noon until 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Then on Saturday they will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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