Despite pandemic, business continues at animal shelter — just in a new way

Jonathan Roberts • Apr 5, 2020 at 7:00 AM

It’s been about two weeks since the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter closed to the public because of the novel coronavirus — but that hasn’t cut down on the amount of work they have to do day-to-day.

“It’s doubled the work,” said shelter director Tammy Davis. “It’s a lot to keep up with.”

Davis said that, since it closed to the public on March 18, the shelter’s phone has been ringing off the hook, and its email and social media accounts have been inundated with messages. Adoptions have moved to appointment-only, with photos of the animals available for adoption being updated regularly on the shelter’s Facebook page and website — part of the reason they’ve seen a doubling of voice messages and a quadrupling of Facebook messages.

Thus far, Davis said shelter employees have been very happy with the number of adoptions they’ve been able to facilitate since they’ve closed — having found homes for nearly 30 animals as of March 31.

“If someone is interested in a pet, we’re having them email us and the email address is [email protected],” Davis said.

Rising concerns

Fortunately, donations haven’t slowed — though it is a concern.

“We know people are uncertain about what’s going to happen with the economy,” Davis said. “We haven’t really seen a decrease yet, but we are afraid, as things get worse and things progress, that we will see a decrease in the number of donations.”

Another concern? Space. In April 2019, Davis said the shelter took in more than 340 animals.

“As long as we can continue doing adoptions by appointment, we want to get out as many animals as possible,” Davis said.

In order to keep the shelter population low, Davis said they’ve limited intake to emergencies only and that they’re hoping to get people who may be stuck working from home to foster.

“If (people) are having to work from home, we’re hoping that they will open up their home and maybe foster an animal,” she said.

For more information on the adoption process, how to donate or to view some of the animals available, visit https://wcjcanimalshelter.org or email [email protected]. Davis said the shelter is in need of bleach, along with other typical items of need.

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