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COVID-19 Town Hall: Shelter Operations

The first in a series of COVID-19 Shelter Town Halls focused on these topics:

  • Lifesaving Operations when shelters are closed or modified-open
  • Handling staffing and volunteers during COVID-19, and having a staffing and back-up plan
  • Organizations supporting one another

The following panelists joined us to lend insight and expertise:

  • Sue Cosby, senior director of Lifesaving Centers at Best Friends Animal Society
  • Michelle Dosson, shelter director at Norfolk Animal Care Center
  • Bethany Heins, directors of operations and strategic projects for national programs at Best Friends Animal Society
  • Makena Yarbrough, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regional director at Best Friends Animal Society 

Click the timestamps below to skip to that portion of the town hall:

  • Introductions to the panel: 1:59
  • Topic overview 5:26 
  • How have the changes in your normal operations progressed? 6:19 
  • What are some lifesaving programs to incorporate during the pandemic? 14:52
  • How can we make sure essential sheltering functions continue with limited staff? Is it safe to include volunteers in normal operations? 20:20
  • What is the best way to connect with & support other organizations in our community without putting your own operations at risk? 30:58 
  • How is Best Friends helping on-the-ground during the pandemic? 39:15 
  • Is Best Friends currently adopting out pets that are not spayed/neutered due to lack of access? 42:00 
  • What do other organizations that are doing emergency fostering think about the risk of animals being returned due to foster parent illness or hospitalization? 46:45
  • What is the status of pet food banks? 50:07 
  • What are your recommendations for rescue organizations/non-shelters in regards to safe handling of animals taken in from communities as owner surrenders? Do you recommend bathing all animals on intake at this point? 52:30
  • What are your thoughts on continuing multi-state transports? 55:53

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