The Latest: COVID-19 and shelter closure

Shelter Extends Closure to the Public.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 12, 2020
Seattle Humane has extended its closure to the public until further notice to support community efforts to reduce the spread of infection.

This announcement comes as the shelter monitors new information concerning the coronavirus outbreak, as well as in response to recommendations from government and healthcare officials to promote social distancing interventions. 

“Seattle Humane is committed to doing its part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, while also fulfilling our mission of saving lives and completing families,” said Interim Chief Executive Officer Paula Littlewood. “We will be looking at our current operation procedures and determining how best to connect our deserving shelter pets with loving families without exacerbating a public health situation. In the interim, our talented and dedicated staff and volunteers continue to provide exceptional care to all of our animals, whether they are here at our shelter or in one of our foster homes.” 

As the shelter’s primary goal remains finding homes for the pets in its care, it will offer a trial of limited adoptions by appointment only. (Please note that this adoption process is not active at this time.)

This adoption-by-appointment system was piloted Thursday, March 12, for nearly a dozen large-breed mix puppies. These 14-week-old puppies were already scheduled for transport from Oklahoma before the coronavirus outbreak closure was announced. As this is a new model designed specifically for this unprecedented public health situation, the shelter will then evaluate how best to expand this adoption-by-appointment approach to incorporate the nearly 80 pets who would have otherwise been available for adoption if the shelter had remained open to the public. 

In the meantime, fewer than 40 pets remain on campus, where they are being cared for by a reduced group of staff and volunteers. The rest of the 150-plus pets in the shelter’s charge are enjoying offsite slumber parties within the organization’s network of about 900 foster homes. 

“While this situation is ever-evolving, one constant throughout is our commitment to providing comfort and care to vulnerable animals,” Littlewood said. “We are dedicated to ensuring that the dogs, cats, and small critters entrusted to us will continue to receive the affection and attention they deserve.” 

During this closure to the public, the shelter is postponing the following services: Pet Resource Center appointments, Humane Education events, public veterinary appointments, dog training classes, media segments, and fundraising events. Additionally, the donor reception, “TLC in ISO,” originally scheduled for April 2, will be canceled and rescheduled for a later date. 

NOTE: According to numerous health organizations (including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the American Veterinary Medical Association), no animals in the United States have been diagnosed with the virus, and zero data exists to suggest that dogs or cats (or other pets) can contract or spread Covid-19, also known as 2019-nCoV.

“There’s no evidence to indicate that domesticated animals play any role in disease transmission for Covid-19,” said Dr. Jessica Reed, veterinarian and chief medical director at Seattle Humane.  

Bottom line: Practice social distancing and snuggle your pets. 🙂  

35 thoughts on “The Latest: COVID-19 and shelter closure

      1. Hi there!
        We’re not facilitating adoptions at this time. But please stay updated on our social channels. The shelter has needed to focus on getting pets into volunteer foster homes to limit the need for onsite staff and volunteers. Most of our pets are now in foster care, but we can always onboard new volunteers to help if we are able to intake more pets. You can learn more here: https://www.seattlehumane.org/get-involved/foster-a-pet/

  1. I was interested in meeting Dolly the shy Boston Terrier. From your post i assume she has been adopted. Is this correct.
    My family is grown and my house is quiet. I have time to devote to a dog.

    1. Learn more about joining our volunteer foster care network at https://www.seattlehumane.org/get-involved/foster-a-pet/
      Many of our shelter pets have been matched with existing foster families. The animals who remain on campus, and receiving love and care, are pets who need medical procedures, or they are dogs who require a child-free or pet-free home. If your home isn’t the best match for the pets on campus now, we welcome you to sign up for foster care in the event that we receive additional pets who need a foster home.

    2. Learn more about joining our volunteer foster care network at https://www.seattlehumane.org/get-involved/foster-a-pet/
      Many of our shelter pets have been matched with existing foster families. The animals who remain on campus, and receiving love and care, are pets who need medical procedures, or they are dogs who require a child-free or pet-free home. If your home isn’t the best match for the pets on campus now, we welcome you to sign up for foster care in the event that we receive additional pets who need a foster home.

  2. When will the shelter be allowing adoptions again? I’ve been seeing news articles about shelter adoptions elsewhere decreasing, and I’m worried that this will cause animals to die needlessly. Even if SH doesn’t kill for space, other shelters do, and animals not going to SH may go to shelters that will have to kill them. It’s been a week since you adopted out that puppy litter. Any news?

    1. Hi Warren. Thank you for this thoughtful comment. Please know that the well being of the people and pets in our community are the shelter’s top priority. Seattle Humane has accepted limited transport of animals on an emergency basis. Our community outreach teams are actively pairing individuals and shelters in need with resources, and helping where we can. The priority has been to find volunteer foster homes for as many on-campus pets as possible to limit the number of staff and volunteers needed onsite at the shelter. We have to ensure the health of our people and their families first. Our next step is to expand the piloted adoption-by-appointment system. Please follow @seattlehumane on our social channels for updates as they become available.

    1. Hi there!
      We’re not facilitating adoptions at this time. But please stay updated on our social channels. The shelter has needed to focus on getting pets into volunteer foster homes to limit the need for onsite staff and volunteers. Most of our pets are now in foster care, but we can always onboard new volunteers to help if we are able to intake more pets. You can learn more here: https://www.seattlehumane.org/get-involved/foster-a-pet/

    2. Good news! We’re launching our adoption-by-appointment process Friday evening (that’s Mar. 27). Please check our website tomorrow! Thanks!

      1. Adoption by appointment annoucement is fantastic! Just wondering if an application has already been submitted to the adoptions email, will there need to be another submitted, or will the original suffice?

    1. At this time, the shelter is not offering adoption services. We were focused on finding volunteer foster homes for the pets who still remained on campus, and limiting the number of staff and volunteers required to be onsite at the shelter. Please stay tuned for updates as they become available. We plan to offer adoption services soon. You can follow @seattlehumane on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

    1. Hi Charles. At this time, the shelter is not offering adoption services. We were focused on finding volunteer foster homes for the pets who still remained on campus, and limiting the number of staff and volunteers required to be onsite at the shelter. Please stay tuned for updates as they become available. We plan to offer adoption services soon. You can follow @seattlehumane on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

  3. How do we become a foster home? We are interested in adopting Brownie but understand there are no adoptions at this time. Would we be able to foster her?

    1. Hi Alex.
      Brownie is in a volunteer foster home, as are most of our pets, but you can learn more about fostering here: https://www.seattlehumane.org/get-involved/foster-a-pet/
      We received 375 foster care volunteer applications over the weekend, which is amazing, but this also means we don’t have many foster opportunities available at this time. The pets who still need foster care require specific homes and/or experience. Thank you!

  4. Hello,

    I was hoping to foster a cat or possibly a dog during this time. I have one dog, Seattle Humane alum, and two 3 year old cats adopted as kittens from PAWS. I am a school psychologist in the Bellevue School District, and it looks like I may be working at home through June. All our animals are very happy we are home, and we would love to open our home to a new face for a while. Please let me know if I may be able to help out.

    Thanks, Meggan Jung, [email protected] or 206-819-8341.

    1. Thank you for this generous offer!
      We received 375 foster volunteer applications last weekend, and the majority of our pets are now in foster care. Please email [email protected] for a list of other shelters that could use your help right now.

  5. There seem to be so many dogs in Foster Care and so many people, myself included,are looking to adopt which is permanent. Is getting them into a Foster situation less harmful than adopting?
    Then there are all the dogs being brought into the state or country with huge prices! I had no idea it would be this difficult .

    1. Hi Susan,
      Please check our website tomorrow evening — that’s March 27. We’re launching our adoption-by-appointment system, and we’ll be able to provide more details then. Thanks so much for wanting to give a pet in need the love of a family.

  6. I would like to know if we can get put on a waiting list for specific dogs so that when you are adopting again we can be contacted first. I am very interested in Harley, the German shorthair mix. Also, I was wondering if there is a way that I can introduce my dogs to her to see how they interact. I have a 5 year old Weimaraner and an 11 year old Weimaraner. The younger one needs a buddy with more energy to play with. Please email me if this is possible to get on the waiting list for her.

    1. Hi Tami. We’re launching our adoption-by-appointment process on Mar. 27. Please check our website for information tomorrow evening. You can also inquire with our customer care team at [email protected] if there is any possibility of being put on a list for specific breeds. Special requests might be difficult to offer at this time, but they’ll have the most up-to-date information. Thank you!

    1. Hi Frankie. Good news! We’re launching our adoption-by-appointment process Friday evening (that’s Mar. 27). Please check our website tomorrow! Thanks!

  7. Hello! I am curious about Graham, Triscuit, Goldfish, and Saltine. Do you know what breeds they are or anything about their parents/background?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hello! Those cuties were transferred to Seattle Humane from another shelter, and we do not have information on their parents. They are large-breed mixed puppies, and our best guess is that they are likely a mix of Labrador and Shepherd, but it’s not possible to confirm. We can confirm that they are 100 percent adorable!
      https://www.seattlehumane.org/adoption/

  8. Hello! It’s Friday, March 27th, and I’m on the website looking for the adoption by appointment option. I’ll check back a little later. My family and I are really interested in adopting.

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