(Special to The News)

Pet owners encouraged to be proactive in caring for their animals

Maple Ridge SPCA shelter is closed to the public, but adoptions and fostering are still possible

BC SPCA shelters, including the facility in the Albion neighbourhood of Maple Ridge, are restricting public access, but the animals are still being cared for.

In order to protect staff, volunteers and members of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, the SPCA determined a few weeks ago that they had to significantly restrict public access to the shelter.

Except for appointments for adoptions and emergency surrenders, there will be no public access to SPCA facilities, including the Maple Ridge shelter.

However, staff and volunteers will continue to be on site caring for the animals, and to provide emergency treatment and on-going care for animals who come into our custody through cruelty investigations.

Read their COVID-19 FAQs

Staff shortages and the need to limit the number of people in the shelter has reduced their normal service capacity.

“We thank you for your help in ensuring that we can direct our limited resources to the animals in most urgent need of care,” says the SPCA website.

“We encourage people interested in adopting to view our available animals online. Maintaining the flow of animals into new, loving homes will enable us to continue helping new animals at risk, even with limited staffing.”

And while the SPCA is developing emergency protocols and expanding their foster networks to ensure that they can help as many vulnerable pet guardians impacted by COVID-19 as possible within their capacity and resources, they are recommending pet owners to be proactive in caring for their pets during the virus outbreak.

The BC SPCA understands how concerning this is for pet guardians. They advise people to reach out to family and friends who might be able to help out with their pets should they fall ill.

They still encourage people to help the animals in care at the shelters in the following ways:

Adoptions: View the amazing animals waiting for homes and fill out an online adoption application. Staff will contact people with more information and to set up an appointment for them to meet the animal.

Surrendered animals: Due to limited staffing and space, we can only accept animals for surrender in emergency cases, until further notice. People are asked to please contact the local shelter to make an appointment if they are in an emergency situation and cannot keep an animal, even temporarily.

Volunteers: In order to safeguard the wellness of staff and volunteers, some branches may need to reduce the number of volunteers in the building at one time in order to minimize interaction and contact.

“Thank you to our incredible volunteers who play such a key role in caring for the animals!” said the SPCA.

Fostering: The SPCA is working with its existing volunteers to help with fostering animals in care.

“We are assessing our needs daily – should we need additional support we will be reaching out to the public for help. Thank you!”

Animal Cruelty Complaints: Complaints of suspected animal cruelty or abuse can be made through our BC SPCA call centre at 1-855-622-7722. The cruelty investigations team is responding to calls, with enhanced safety precautions in place.

Donate: Many supporters have been impacted by COVID-19 and may not be in a position to help right now.

The SPCA understands and said “thank you so much for all you have done for the animals – you have helped save so many lives.” For those able to help, support is still needed to help the animals.

“Thank you so much for your help and cooperation as, together, we work to keep animals and their SPCA caregivers safe.”

For more information on the local shelter visit the website.

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