As coronavirus/COVID-19 continues to plow its ruthless path across the United States, the topic of preparedness, or the lack thereof, is discussed continuously. While there are many levels of preparedness we can’t control, as individuals, family members, friends and neighbors -- as pet guardians-- there are things we must do to be ready for when we are personally touched by this crisis.
Best Friends Animal Society has compiled the below list of resources available for New York City area residents for their pets during this time.
Preparedness Plan: Best Friends Animal Society has assembled a Pet Preparedness Plan, available in English and Spanish, to help pet parents ensure that they have the resources, supplies and plans in place for continued maintenance of the pets in their care whether they’re unable to leave the house, too sick to function at home, or become hospitalized.
Remote Veterinarian Consultation Services: Best Friends Vet Access app offers remote access to veterinary consultation services. Although multiple health organizations have stated that pets and domestic animals are not at risk for spreading COVID-19, that doesn't mean pets won't have any other health issues while local veterinarians are closed or operating with limited hours or emergency-only access.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple or Android store using code BFHELPS. It's free for 30 days with a credit card, but if the account is deleted before the 30 days expires, users will not be charged the $12.99 monthly fee. Thanks to Maddie’s Fund, this service is now available for FREE to fosters working with any animal shelter or rescue group in the country (while licenses last).
NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline: The Pet Hotline serves as an information, planning, referral and service coordination hub for NYC residents who need support for their pets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pet Hotline operators can be reached directly at 877-204-8821, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
The Pet Hotline will help mitigate people’s questions and concerns about keeping their pets during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as connect callers to pet relief resources such as subsidized emergency veterinary care and food and supply distribution services. For NYC residents with pets requiring a higher level of care, cases will be escalated for coordination of temporary placement or supplemental care of animals. NYC’s COVID-19 pet response plan is the first of its kind in the country.
Emergency Foster Care: When animal shelters fill up or families are displaced, pets can be at risk. These pets need a temporary home – sometimes only for a few weeks. Together, we can keep families from being separated and make sure that shelters do not have to kill pets because of space, timing, or age. Please visit 911FosterPets.com to help a pet in your area or if you are in need of temporary foster help.
Rehoming a Pet: If you need help rehoming your pet, before heading to your local shelter, please consider using rehome.adoptapet.com. Users can create a profile, review applications, meet potential adopters and finalize the adoption themselves. This alleviates the pressure on local shelters, especially during this time with limited staff and intake.
Take Action: Spread kindness (and awareness) while staying safe. Help those in your community to prepare and with tasks if they become ill or cannot leave the house.