The coronavirus epidemic in the UK ha transformed how we live and what we can do virtually overnight, with everyone needing to make sacrifices of some type for the greater good of the wider community and to support the efforts of the NHS.
The situation is evolving and changing every day, and advice and direction that was relevant or even mandated very recently is often out of date just a few days later, with the greatest upheaval so far being the introduction of “stay at home” measures on the 23rd March 2020.
We don’t know yet how long these measures will stay in place, or if upon their first review, they will be maintained, tightened up, or relaxed; but even at this stage, there is still some uncertainty in general about what people can and cannot do, what services will continue to be offered, and what measures we should take to keep ourselves and others safe and well at this time.
For dog owners and dog lovers, factoring their pets into the equation can make things more complicated too, with dog owners asking questions like “can you walk your dog during coronavirus stay at home restrictions,” (yes) and “are vets still open?” (yes, but with some changes in place.)
Another popular question from dog lovers and aspiring dog owners is whether or not you can still adopt a dog from a rescue centre whilst the “stay at home” restrictions are in place. When many people are working from home or unexpectedly at home for the foreseeable future with little to do might seem like the ideal opportunity to get a pet, and in some ways it would be; but are dog and cat rehoming centres still rehoming pets to the public at this time? No, not as a rile
Sadly, the vast majority of rehoming shelters are unable to rehome pets to new owners at this time, due to the social distancing measures in place for the protection of their staff and the general public, and in respect of the “stay at home unless essential” rules.
This article will outline the policies of some of the largest cat and dog rehoming centres and charities and their rehoming policies at this time; plus answer some frequently asked questions about coronavirus restrictions and rehoming animals. Read on to learn more.
No, rehoming centres that are generally open to the public are now closed as part of supporting the government’s stay at home measures.
This includes shelters and rehoming centres operated by UK Cats, The Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and the RSPCA.
Most organisations that had already approved individual adoptions are working as far as possible to permit them to proceed; but visits on the part of the general public to see animals and home visits to assess prospective homes have been suspended, which means that new adoptions cannot currently take place.
Because you can’t visit shelter pets (which is essential to make a sound choice) and home visits to assess the suitability of your home cannot take place, it is not possible to actually undertake an adoption at this time.
However, the vast majority of rehoming shelters and organisations, including those mentioned above, are still showcasing pets for adoption on their websites, and inviting applications and expressions of interest whilst the restrictions are in place. This means that you can trigger the first stages of the adoption process now, and get some way down the pipeline to make things easier and faster when restrictions are lifted.
Most rehoming shelters are full to capacity virtually all of the time, and they often have to turn pets in genuine need away as a result of this. With no animals being rehomed right now due to coronavirus restrictions, this is truer now than ever, and many if not most shelters are currently full and displaying statements to the effect that they cannot take in new charges, other than potentially in very exceptional circumstances.
Fostering a cat or dog is a brilliant way to help a pet in need and to increase their chances of being re-home-able. Unfortunately, the process to approve a foster volunteer is more or less the same as that for an adopter (and may be more comprehensive if it involves fostering a pet with issues that require experience and specific behavioural knowledge).
This means that most rehoming centres are unable to foster out pets to new applicants at the moment, although it is worth checking with individual shelters, particularly if you have fostered for them before and so may already be approved to do so without the need for a home visit or face-to-face shelter visit.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has made a statement indicting that they are currently fully staffed and not accepting new volunteer applicants at present due to the coronavirus situation.
Generally, where shelters can provide coverage using existing staff and volunteers, this will be the case for others too, although once more it is worth checking with induvial shelters.
All pet charities and rehoming centres are always in dire need of one thing; money. If you can make a donation to your shelter or charity of choice, now is the time to do it.
Again, also, check out the websites for individual charities or local shelters you wish to support and see if they’re in need of anything in particular that you might be able to help with.
If there’s no statement on the website, consider emailing or calling to find out.