COVID-19 has impacted virtually everyone in some way — including our fury friends.
Since the pandemic hit, the Hopkins County Humane Society has seen an increase in the number of animals they are taking in, while the number of adoptions have stayed about the same, said Dustin Miller, executive director.
“We are seeing a slight increase in owner-surrendered animals,” said Miller.
Before COVID-19, owner-surrendered animals averaged between 20-22 per month, now the number has jumped to 30-40. Adoptions and positive cases have continued to average around 20-30 per month.
Miller said the only decrease he has seen has been the number of stray animals they take in. The shelter would normally see between 170-180 stray animals per month, while after COVID-19 they are seeing around 120-130.
As winter approaches, the cold brings a whole host of new problems for people with animals, especially outside animals, Miller said.
The shelter has historically seen an increase in owner-surrendered animals, along with some farm animals because people cannot provide for their basic needs during the winter months, he said. The downside is while the shelter is taking in more animals during the winter, the rescue contracts they work with stop taking in as many animals.
“They are primarily foster based, which means they have no brick and mortar facilities,” said Miller.
Adding to that stress, adoptions tend to slow down in the winter and don’t pick back up again until mid-March putting an extra strain on the shelter, he said.
To help keep adoption numbers up during the winter, they run specials, said Miller. The shelter is offering 20% off all adoptions through the month of November and all first responders get 50% off.
With the increase in animals coming through the shelter and with winter weather fast approaching, donations are more important than ever.
Miller said they start preparing in the fall by asking the community for blankets, towels and square bales of straw. Most of the donations go to the animals in the shelter, but some of the straw they provide to families to use as bedding for their outside animals who otherwise might not be able to afford it.
“That is just a program we offer to keep pets with their owners as much as possible,” said Miller.
The Humane Society is also accepting dog and cat food since they primarily take care of those animals. Miller said they accept both wet and dry food of all brands.
“Our biggest need right now is for the dry dog food and cat food,” said Miller.
The shelter will help owners who need assistance feeding their pets by offering food when there is a surplus of food at the shelter, he said. Owners can contact the shelter to ask about help, but it is on an as available basis.
Miller said there is an event coming up in November that the shelter is also accepting donations for.
The 6th Annual Thanksgiving for the Animals feast on Sunday, Nov. 22. The shelter can accept frozen or refrigerated turkeys, low-sodium or no-sodium canned green beans and carrots, and tuna in spring water for the cats. Miller said they prefer the tuna to be in spring water instead of oil.
Volunteers will cook and debone the turkeys, add in the green beans and carrots to make a casserole-type dish to feed to the animals, said Miller.
“The animals really love it, and we just want to do something special for them so they are not left out during the Thanksgiving season,” said Miller.
The shelter will not be able to accept frozen turkeys, only refrigerated turkeys between Wednesday, Nov. 18 and Friday, Nov. 20.
Donations of any kind can be dropped off at the shelter located at 2210 Laffoon Trail from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The shelter is closed daily from 12 to 1 p.m. for lunch. Monetary donations can be made through the Hopkins County Humane Society’s Facebook page or call 270-821-8965.