The Humane Society of Delaware County (HSDC) is running business as normal during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Animals are being cared for, the pet food pantry is still giving out food, and animals are still being adopted.
Located at 4920 state Route 37 E. in Delaware, HSDC is a limited intake shelter, meaning it only takes in animals the shelter believes it can help when capacity is available to do so. The shelter operates under this model so that euthanasia is not a primary mode of care for the animals.
Currently, there are 108 residents at HSDC. The shelter is able to take in just about any creature one can think of, but for the most part, it houses cats and dogs.
Executive Director Jana Cassidy said cats make up about 70% of the population at the shelter, which she explained is because owners often believe cats can take care of themselves and are simply released into the wild. From there, if the animal isn’t spayed or neutered, it can breed rapidly, creating even more cats in need of loving homes.
Cassidy added a majority of the funding for the shelter comes from fundraisers and donations. Earlier this month, after Gov. Mike DeWine set limits to the number of people who could gather, the shelter was forced to postpone one of its largest fundraisers, the annual Fur Ball Gala. Normally held in March, the event was pushed to October, causing the shelter to lose a large influx of funds. Those funds are used to pay for vaccines, staff payment, and utility bills.
According to an article from Bloomberg, cities that are epicenters of the disease are rapidly running out of pets to foster. With people staying at home, many are turning to furry companions by either adopting or fostering them. Shelters are concerned that the tides will turn and as people begin to be financially impacted, they may decide to surrender their pets if they can’t properly care for them.
For pet owners who are struggling, Cassidy encourages them to reach out to the shelter to explore the options available to them.
“Can we provide them with food to keep that animal in the home? Can we provide them with medical care for that animal? What can we do that possibly will keep that animal in a safe environment at home rather than in our building?,” Cassidy said.
There have been an increased number of calls to HSDC from people offering foster homes, which Cassidy said is considered on a case-by-case basis based on what animals would benefit from fostering and the needs that animal would have.
Cassidy encourages people to foster if they are considering it.
“Sign up if you’re willing to take that on and help us out with that,” she said. “Fostering is by far the easiest way for us to expand our ability to help the community and help more animals. Fostering saves lives like you would not believe.”
Fostering, however, is not the absolute best solution to the problem, Cassidy added.
“Ideally, adoptions come first, so if we can get an animal adopted, that is a permanent home for an animal and that is a better environment than anything else that’s out there. So we try that first,” she said.
If anyone is looking to adopt or foster a furry friend, check out the adoptable animals page on the humane society website: www.hsdcohio.org/adoptable. There is an application that can be completed and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the application has been processed, someone from the shelter will reach out to talk about the animal. If it seems like a good fit, an in-person appointment can be scheduled. The shelter has requested that only one person from the family comes to meet the animal due to current circumstances.
For those who are unable to foster or adopt but still want to help, donations can be made to the shelter by visiting www.hsdcohio.org.
“To get people to help us by donating $5, $10, it makes a difference right now,” Cassidy said. It’s critical.”
Contact Alex Hulvalchick on Twitter @amhulvalchick.