Local animal shelters beg the community to foster, adopting new plans due to coronavirus

WATCH: Local animal shelters implementing new policies due to the coronavirus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More than just humans are feeling the effects of the coronavirus.

Memphis Animal Services will only be able to take pets on an emergency basis.

FOX13’s Winnie Wright found out why MAS reached this decision.

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We’ve heard it a hundred times: when it comes to the coronavirus, your best defense is to wash your hands and practice social distancing.

All that social distancing, though, means Memphians aren’t going to the animal shelter to foster and adopt pets, which leaves MAS with more pets than they can take.

“We are feeling a reduction in adoptions,” Alexis Pugh, MAS director. “We are feeling a reduction in owner reclaims. That’s causing our numbers to be completely out of balance. Our intake, we just can’t keep up with it.”

This is where supply and demand kicks in.

Until MAS can get pets, mainly dogs out of the shelter, they will limit the number of pets they take in.

It’s called ‘emergency intake only mode.’

“That means if the animal poses an immediate public safety risk or that animal is in immediate danger, we are absolutely still taking that animal. But if it’s non-emergency, we are going to ask that people hold off,” Pugh said.

If you’re working from home, quarantined, or maybe practicing social distancing of your own, consider taking in a quarantine buddy.

According to an article written in the journal of the American Heart Association, “Dogs offer companionship, reduce anxiety and loneliness, increase self-esteem, and improve overall mood.”

“You’re actually going to be home more,” Pugh said. “Plans that you might’ve had have been canceled. You’re hanging out.

“Your kids are home from school for two weeks. What an excellent opportunity to have this extended window of time to build a relationship with that new pet.”

For information on how you can foster or adopt with MAS, visit our website.

Pugh also told FOX13, MAS is pushing back all owner surrender appointments.

In the meantime, the shelter will offer those owners resources to ensure the pets are taken care of until the shelter can begin accepting again.

Also, the Germantown Animal Shelter has implemented new policies to comply with social distancing practices set forth by the CDC.

The policies will be effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice, which includes not be accepting any animal surrenders, will only impound animals that pose an immediate threat to public safety or that need immediate medical care and not be accepting any new shelter volunteers at this time.