March 27, 2020
Categories: Shelter Medicine, Community Cats, Surgery and Sterilization

The National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) has released several statements and protocol recommendations for animal shelters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

We’d like to bring attention to their recommendations for releasing unaltered pets from animal shelters and cat intake protocol, and we strongly encourage shelters to adhere to them.  

The U.S. Surgeon General has requested that human and animal organizations suspend ‘non-essential’ surgeries to preserve critical medical supplies. The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine states on their website: 

Given the current pandemic, in an effort to reduce resource use, workload, and the potential for human exposure, shelters and spay-neuter clinics should make decisions about which spay-neuter surgeries and other procedures are non-emergency procedures and discontinue those that could be deferred. 

NACA states that, “the lack of immediately available spay and neuter services should not be a reason for shelter euthanasia.” Shelters should continue providing live outcomes for sheltered dogs and cats. If shelters are unable to or decide for any reason not to alter pets during the COVID-19 Pandemic, they should continue providing live outcomes for sheltered cats and dogs.  

It’s important to note that every effort should be made to get the pet altered after the COVID-19 pandemic.  

NACA is also recommending that “animal control agencies suspend intake of healthy stray and community cats, except for the purposes of sterilization and release. Officers should cease any activity involving trapping and intaking healthy community cats. Animal control organizations should continue to take in cats that are sick and injured, or are in immediate danger, as in the case of cats that are victims of neglect or cruelty.” 

We hope these guidelines help your organization as you navigate this unique and rapidly-changing situation.