Starting next week, the Kingston Humane Society will resume the adoptions of animals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Humane Society began scaling back operations due to the pandemic in mid-March, and suspended all adoptions in suspended all adoptions five weeks ago in an attempt to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. Since then, more than 100 foster volunteers have stepped up to care for the animals that would normally have been housed in Humane Society kennels awaiting adoption.
“Our foster volunteers have been incredible,” said Gord Hunter, Executive Director of the Kingston Humane Society. “But we’re starting to see the expected spring influx of animals and we need to be sure we have capacity within the shelter once things begin to open up again and once the foster families begin returning animals to us.”
Beginning on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the animal shelter will resume adoptions for a limited number of animals. Significant safety protocols will be employed to avoid any contact or direct interaction with potential adopters, the Humane Society said. The capacity of the current building is limited to 75 cats and 44 dogs, and the Kingston Human Society currently has 112 animals in care – the majority of which are in foster homes for the time being.
The Humane Society tends to see an influx of animals being brought it, particularly cats, Hunter explained. For example, last May, the Humane Society took in just under 200 animals. After a mild winter, the number of animals coming into the shelter is expected to rise significantly, potentially putting the shelter well over capacity, Animal Programs Manager Christie Haaima explained.
“Each year, we see a large influx of animals heading into the summer months, predominantly stray cats and orphaned kittens,” she said. “We can’t allow Covid-19 to prevent us from saving the lives of nearly 2,000 pets this year. We need to be prepared by continuing adoptions and expanding our foster program.”
Upon resuming adoptions, pre-adoption consultations and meet and greets will be done virtually. Successful adopters will then go to Kingston Humane Society to pick up their new pet in a no-touch environment. Adoption payments will be accepted by debit or credit only using no-touch or minimal contact protocols. All Humane Society staff will wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and adopters will be asked to wear gloves and masks when picking up their new furry friend.
“This is new to all of us and we expect to experience small glitches that we’ll address and correct on the fly,” Hunter said. “Our goal is to find forever homes for as many animals in our care as possible and to remain within our somewhat limited capacity, keeping the strain on staff and animals to a minimum.
The public can find animals available for adoption on the Kingston Humane Society website beginning on Wednesday, May. 6, 2020. Online applications will be processed as received and suitable adopters will be contacted for virtual meet and greets.