OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – The Oshkosh Area Humane Society says they are hoping for the best but anticipating the worst as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. Executive Director Joni Geiger says that as people become hospitalized, OAHS is preparing for a potential increase in surrendered animals due to people being hospitalized.
“We hope it doesn’t happen but we have to be ready if it does because those animals will need us,” said OAHS Executive Director Joni Geiger.”
An increase in surrenders could result in an already-expected increase of the usual springtime increase of animals.
“This is typically when we start seeing more stray animals anyway due to the weather getting warmer and animals wandering, as well as the start of kitten season so we’re looking at a potential avalanche of animals coming in the next few weeks or even months.”
Currently, OAHS is only offering services by appointment, including adoptions, surrenders, and stray animal returns. Cleaning procedures have also been change and a limit on the number of people in the building has been imposed.
Geiger says it is important to have a secondary caregiver for your pets in the event that you become hospitalized or become unable to care for them for any other reason.
“Having a plan means your pet won’t end up at a shelter. Assign a secondary caregiver for your animal and make sure you have instructions on how to care for them – their health history, vet records, vaccinations, any medications, etc.”
Geiger also said people should put ID tags on their animals.
“Springtime is full of new smells and animals. Pets will often follow their nose or chase animals farther than they should and end up wandering out of their area. Put an ID tag with your contact information on your animal so if they do wander, you can be reunited immediately without needing to get your pet at a shelter.”
Although OAHS is still taking animal surrenders in cases of emergency, they are asking the public to keep their current animals if at all possible. “Unless you, your family, or the animal is in danger we are asking the public to assess if surrendering is necessary at this time. We are trying to keep spaces open for the true emergencies,” says Geiger.
Another way the public can help OAHS is through adoption, says Gieger.
“We need animals to keep moving out to make space in case we get a big influx of animals. That means continuing adoptions. Right now all dogs 6-years-old and under have just a $25 adoption fee and all other animals have no adoption fee.”
For more on OAHS and how to adopt, visit OAHS’s website.