Local Animal Shelters Focus On Online Adoptions During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Deemed essential businesses, local animal shelters are closed to the public, but they’re continuing to function across the South Fork.

The Animal Rescue Fund in Wainscott is closed except for essential staff and medical personnel, executive director Scott Howe reported on Friday. “We’re busy,” he said, informing that half the staff was on site and he was still working on further reductions.
Adoptions by appointment were still underway as of Friday, with all three South Fork shelters — ARF, the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation in Hampton Bays, and Bide-a-wee in Westhampton continuing to process adoptions and appointments.

Prospective pet parents can view each shelter’s animals online, and submit applications through websites. “It’s all paperless,” Mr. Howe said.
SASF began curbside adoptions on March 18.

“We’re still getting dogs into homes,” Kate McEntee, the shelter’s director of adoption said. “It’s very special to work with the kind of staff we have here. We’re keeping social distance and adopting out in the parking lot.”

Eight dogs were adopted or fostered on Thursday.

The public response has been overwhelming, Ms. McEntee said.
“People are calling, asking, ‘What do you need? We’re getting through it, with the support of the community,’” she said.

She noted that a wellness clinic was up and running and staffed by shelter vets, Dr. Teresa Meekins and Dr. Nicole Mirante.

“They performed emergency surgery here yesterday, “ Ms. McEntee said Friday. “Our community relies on us, we have to be here.”

Each shelter is operating with staff, and directing volunteers to stay home. A message on the Bideawee website states: “We are pausing the recruitment of new volunteers. Please click on your location (Manhattan / Wantagh / Westhampton), submit your email address and we will be in touch when we begin accepting new applications. We look forward to welcoming you to the Bideawee volunteer family in the near future.”

As for adoptions and fosters, the Bideawee’s website message notes, “Right now, our greatest need is for people who either live near our Westhampton and Wantagh locations, or who have a car and can drive to pick up an animal there. We will also be posting about specific animals in need of foster on our Facebook and Instagram pages, so please follow us for the latest updates.”

The Animal Hospital at Bideawee, located in Westhampton, will be open for limited hours Monday-Saturday for essential appointments only. Check the website for updates regarding pet memorial parks, end -of-life services, and how to make donations.

The Bideawee website also includes a message regarding concern about human-animal transmission of the Coronavirus: “At this time there is no evidence that COVID19 can be transmitted from humans to animals or animals to humans.”

As the pandemic progresses, Mr. Howe said ARF is preparing to take in animals owners may surrender that they can no longer care for. “We’re trying to make as much space as we can,” he said.

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