3.16.2020: [Blackwood, NJ] — The health and safety of our pets and community is paramount. There are many questions being directed towards our shelter, and it is important to address these valid concerns. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence that companion animals have been infected or could spread the current virus, COVID-19. As such, we are asking that the public NOT surrender healthy pets to us at this time. Right now, we are identifying similar scenarios as are many other organizations: decreased staff due to possible quarantine, possible shelter closure, a drop in adoptions, and increased animal intake. So far, the impact has been to cancel income-generating events, and we are clearly suffering from a loss of foot traffic due to the government’s request to self-quarantine. Homeward Bound is an essential business providing care for animals in South Jersey. We are still coming in and tending to these pets every day, and we are still providing emergency medical treatment to those pets who are brought to us by Animal Control. We are asking the public’s assistance in allowing us a short-term reprieve on intake so we can most effectively utilize our staff and volunteers until this current challenge is behind us. To those ends, Homeward Bound is preparing to ensure that no shelter pets are lost due to increasing fear around COVID-19. Using guidance from both the Humane Society (HSUS) and American Pets Alive!, these resources will ensure that we are prepared for local quarantine should it be asked of us. “Our animals still need your help during this time”, says Vicki Rowland, Executive Director of Homeward Bound. “If you are working from home or as a student studying online, consider adoption or fostering a pet with Homeward Bound today. Social distancing and self-quarantine create a genuine opportunity to bond with your new pets.” Homeward Bound is requesting emergency foster homes that can keep pets for between 4 and 6 weeks. By increasing our foster base, we will be able to weather any unforeseen situation with as little impact as possible to the animals in our care. If you are interested in being part of our Foster Response Team, please e-mail Foster@HomewardBoundNJ.org or head to www.homewardboundnj.com/foster for more information. The public can also help by volunteering. Caring for animals does not stop, not even during a quarantine. Walking dogs, cleaning kennels, tackling laundry, feeding meals and preparing enrichment still must happen. To find out how you can help, e-mail us at Volunteer@HomewardBoundNJ.org. In the meantime, please make sure that your own pets have updated tag information, microchip information, and medical records. Ensure that your pets have ample supplies of food, litter, and, if needed, medication for between 4-6 weeks. Together, we will weather this storm with all our furry friends who are waiting for their forever families. Thank you, as always, for your continued support of Homeward Bound. FAQs Q: Why can’t I surrender my (healthy) pet? A: Right now, adoptions are down because people are avoiding being in public. Around 20% of our intake comes from owner surrenders. Those two things combined would mean a whole lot of pets coming in, but not going out into loving homes. We are trying our best to avoid overcrowding. We want to maintain space for the pets that need us. Q: Are you stopping operations? Are you closing? A: No. The change will mostly impact the owner surrender appointments. About 20% of the pets who enter HBPAC are given up by their owners. We are asking owners who are not facing an immediate crisis to hold their pets for up to four weeks, and to surrender at a later date. For any pet owners who need to surrender immediately, we will still take their pets at their scheduled intake time. Q: How can I help? A: First of all, THANK YOU! We genuinely appreciate the consistent love and care you show to our pets here at Homeward Bound. We could not continue in our lifesaving mission without your generosity. Foster: The shelter is also looking for around 200 “on call” emergency fosters, who can take home a pet if HBPAC reaches critical capacity. HBPAC will need fosters for all types of pets but housing for medium and large dogs and pets with medical issues will be most needed. HBPAC provides vet care, crates, supplies, and food. People can sign up to be an on-call emergency foster caregiver by e-mailing Foster@HomewardBoundNJ.org. Donate: We can always use dye-free, dry dog and cat food. With kitten season upon us, KMR (kitten milk replacement), bottles and nipples, and heating pads are also welcome. We would ask that linens and bedding not be brought in at this time. A full list of needed items can be found on our Amazon Wishlist, found here. Monetary donations can be made online at www.homewardboundNJ.org/donate.