XENIA — April 30 is highlighted as National Adopt-a-Shelter Pet Day. However, Julie Holmes-Taylor, executive director of Greene County Animal Control, highlighted that a number of Greene County citizens have already opened their hearts and homes to new four-legged friends.
“I am stocked about adoptions,” she said. “Not just us, but all over the country.”
Greene County Animal Control serves as the local adoption shelter, but has been closed to the public due to COVID-19. Instead of allowing individuals to come into the facility to meet the animals, they are welcome to browse available pets online and visit by appointment only. Holmes-Taylor highlighted that the rule is in place to keep staff members safe by limiting their exposure to the public. Staff members have also been rotating their shifts, and it has not allowed the intake of animals to take place.
Greene County Animal Control also serves alongside first responders, sheltering animals who have nowhere else to go. If a COVID-19 patient had a pet, but no plan for providing care for the animal while hospitalized with the disease, Greene County Animal Control is prepared to step up to help. Holmes-Taylor said it was important that Greene County Animal Control had space available at all times throughout the shelter-in-place order.
When strays come into the shelter, they are quarantined for three days due to the pandemic. Holmes-Taylor said it is unknown at this time whether or not COVID-19 germs can live on animal fur and for what period of time.
“I’m proud of the community,” Holmes-Taylor said. “We’re still getting strays, but it’s nowhere near the volume it was.”
As the State of Ohio recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses begin to open back up, Holmes-Taylor said Greene County Animal Control will move gradually, and may keep some new policies that have been proven to be successful in place. For example, Greene County Animal Control opened a hotline number upon the shelter-in-place order taking place to help reunite lost pets with their owners. She highlighted that the hotline has been successful, allowing Greene County Animal Control to take information in and distribute it quickly. The hotline has already helped at least one owner find their dog.
Greene County Animal Control may continue to allow the public to visit by appointment only for now, but may allow animal intake to take place.
“Adoptions are up,” Holmes-Taylor said.
She said typically shelter pets need about three weeks to adjust, and new pet owners should treat each pet as an individual. She advised those who have adopted a new pet to begin preparing themselves and their new furry friend for more time apart as the state begins to gradually open back up. Holmes-Taylor said separation anxiety may set in for pets, as having their owner home all the time to suddenly being apart for as people head back to work. She highlighted that pet owners should begin thinking about this transition now, and set a routine with their new pets. Pet owners can also leave their pets home alone for shorter periods of time to begin getting the animal used to being separated.
“Get yourself into a routine of going back to work,” Holmes-Taylor said. “Start that transition, and get your pet used to being a little separated from you.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.