On March 23, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued an Executive Order directing all residents to immediately heed current state public health directives to stay home, except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of essential critical infrastructure sectors to protect the health and well-being of all Washingtonians.
Seattle Humane’s lifesaving operations fall within the Healthcare and Public Health sector profile of the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” list that was designated according to the Executive Order.
The shelter closed to the public in March, and that closure has been extended until further notice. Learn more here.
We remain committed to monitoring COVID-19 developments and following guidance from Washington State Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to stay on top of best practices around social distancing, cleaning protocols, and other recommended disease prevention measures during these unprecedented times.
“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.”
COVID-19 and our Animal Population
Anyone who has been following Seattle Humane’s life-saving work over the years knows that 2020 looks very different, especially in terms of our shelter population. The number of animals in our care remains lower than normal, and particularly so for dogs. There are multiple factors affecting Seattle Humane’s ability to increase the number of animals in our care, and all of them are related to COVID-19. Learn more here.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
How does Adoption-by-Appointment Work?
Learn more on our Adoption by Appointment page.
Are You Offering Public Spay/Neuter Surgeries and Microchipping?
Can Pets Contract COVID-19?
The latest information we have is that there have been rare cases where COVID-19 has spread from people to animals. Two cats in different parts of New York state reportedly experienced a mild respiratory illness and were expected to fully recover. The Centers for Disease Control continues to update information regarding COVID-19 as it learns more about this deadly virus. Keep up with the latest from the CDC.
Can Pets Transmit COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” Pets can naturally spread other germs, so it’s important to exercise proper hand washing after handling your pets, as well as their food, waste and supplies.
How Do I Plan for My Pet’s Care in Case I Become Sick?
- Make sure all of your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations and keep those records in a safe and easily accessible place.
- Confirm your pets are wearing accurate identification at all times and that their microchip information is current. This will be helpful in cases where you may become separated from your pets for a period of time.
- Identify a friend or family member who is willing to care for your pets if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalization is required. Because of the rapid spread of coronavirus, be sure to have a back-up caregiver for your pets in case your first caregiver also becomes sick. Keep their contact information and that of your regular veterinarian handy.
- Pack two weeks’ worth of food and supplies (medications, food and water dishes, leashes, litter, treats, crates and carriers) for each pet.
- Keep meticulous notes regarding the care required for your pets, including diet, feeding schedule, how to administer medications and proper doses, and also any behavioral needs to be aware of.
What Do I Do If I Lose My Job Due to COVID-19 and Have Trouble Caring for My Pet?
Pet Food Bank
Seattle Humane offers a number of community outreach programs, including a Pet Food Bank that serves individuals and families that either need one-time or ongoing support keeping their pets fed and well supplied. To receive assistance, fill out our Pet Food Bank Service Request Form.
Since the shelter closed its campus to the public in early March, Seattle Humane has provided emergency medical and surgical care for income-qualified pet owners. While we are focused on expanding preventative community medicine programs, that vision has not yet been fully realized. If you are facing financial hardship and believe that cost will prevent you from obtaining veterinary care for your pet, please reach out to [email protected] or (425) 649-7560 to see if we are able to assist with your pet’s medical needs.
Mom (and Dad’s) Last Litter
Did your pets go out and make some unexpected babies? We offer free spay/neuter for pet parents when surrendering weaned litters. After their surgeries, we return the parent pet (or pets) to you, and then get to work caring for their litters and finding them new homes at no charge to you. If your dog or cat has a litter ready to be weaned, call (425) 649-7560 or email [email protected] to make an appointment. This service is subject to changing availability depending on updated public health guidance.
While Seattle Humane works to help low-income individuals and families keep their pets in the home, the economic impacts from COVID-19 has taken a toll on many households. No one who finds themselves financially or physically unable to care for their pet should feel judged for having to make the difficult decision of seeking a new home for them. Seattle Humane provides a Home To Home tool that pet guardians can use to share information about their pets and communicate directly with prospective adopters to find the best match. Seattle Humane can also assume ownership of your pets and handle their ongoing care and adoption. Learn more about all of your rehoming options through Seattle Humane here.
Seattle Humane’s COVID-19 Reopening Plan
Details for the Safe Start Washington phased reopening plan can be found at www.governor.wa.gov.