GAHS Statement Regarding COVID-19
Staff and Board Members of the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society are closely monitoring the situation posed by the new coronavirus (COVID-19), and want to stress the importance of having plans for your pets as well as yourself. In order to keep families together, we encourage you to include your pets in plans you make in response to this emerging situation.
We do not want you to be discouraged from visiting the GAHS. Our animals need homes, so please adopt and donate if you can!
However, we do ask that if you feel ill, please stay home and seek appropriate medical treatment. We ask that visitors practice social distancing, refraining from hugs and handshakes. Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Together we can contain the spread of illness, while still helping animals.
What should I do to prepare now, in case I get sick?
It is important to have a plan in place for all members of your household to respond to any emergency, including illness. In addition to preparations typically recommended for any natural disaster threat, put a plan in place if you become ill and need to be hospitalized.
Please visit our disaster preparedness information and think through what supplies you would need for you and your pet(s) if you were quarantined or isolated at home for an extended period of time and also what you would do if you needed to find temporary alternate pet housing should you become unable to care for your pet.
- People should identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if someone in the household becomes ill.
- Have crates, food and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets.
- Keep all animal vaccines up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary.
- Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions. Including the prescription from your veterinarian is also helpful.
- Pets should have identification: collar with ID tag and microchip (best practice is microchipping, which we do at a low-cost here at GAHS!).
Can I catch the virus from my pet or vice versa?
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Organization for Animal Health have issued advisories saying there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the virus and “there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.”
What happens to my pet if I get sick?
Keep your pet home with you, avoid close contact and follow good hygiene.
The CDC recommends the following: “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.”
This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you to regularly consult the US CDC as well as Maine’s CDC. As always, contact your veterinarian and your physician if you suspect that you or your pet has been exposed to the virus.
What is GAHS doing to prepare?
The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is taking all the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of the animals in our care, as well as our staff, volunteers, and the community we serve. At this time, our operations will continue as normal. Please consult our website and Facebook page for updates.
- We are making extra efforts to sanitize door handles, public restrooms, sinks, and countertops.
- Every day our team of staff and volunteers cleans and sanitizes our animal enclosures as well as all public visitor spaces and staff-only areas.
- We wash and dry hundreds of pounds of laundry each day to disinfect linens used throughout the shelter.
- Hand sanitizing dispensers are located throughout our facility, both in bottles and in wall-mounted dispensers.
- GAHS uses veterinary strength products and disinfectants which exceed sanitation levels suggested for both animals and humans.
- Staff and volunteers are asked to remain at home should they fall ill, to avoid spreading this or other illnesses.