As more Californians self-quarantine at home for the foreseeable future due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, some have decided to adopt a pet to help break up the daily monotony.
Local residents were waiting at the front gate of the Rancho Coastal Humane Society one morning last week before it opened. The Encinitas-based nonprofit has since closed temporarily to the public out of concern for the safety of guests, volunteers and staff members, suspending its pet adoption program and other services.
“One person told us that she was looking forward to having time to bond with her new dog before she goes back to work in a couple weeks,” said John Van Zante, the organization’s spokesman.
But staff members also warned potential pet adopters against adopting an animal and then returning it after life goes back to normal.
“For people getting new pets while they’re on quarantine, it’s really important for them to know that it is a lifetime commitment,” Van Zante said.
There is no evidence that COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, can be transmitted from people to pets, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the Rancho Humane Coastal Society is closed, kennel care providers and medical staff will still be on site to care for the dogs, cats and other animals.
“We have a special duty to our shelter animals that makes a closure decision difficult,” Judi Sanzo, the organization’s president, said in a statement released last Friday. “We will continue to provide care, any necessary medical treatment, and enrichment to the dogs, cats, and rabbits here at the shelter and those in our foster care program.”
The Rancho Coastal Humane Society also closed its thrift shop in Cardiff, with plans to reopen in two or three weeks. Pet Assisted Therapy visits have also been canceled, and Humane Education programs have been postponed.
Pet owners also need to be sure they’re stocked up on pet food and other supplies, since many stores are quickly selling out of food, household products and other everyday supplies.
“People need to be proactive,” Van Zante said. “They need to look forward. Don’t wait until you’re out of food before you buy food.”
After daylight saving time, which throws off the usual schedule for many pets, they now have to adjust to the new schedules of their owners, if they’re now working from home or have been laid off.
“It’s hard on us, and we know what’s going on,” Van Zante said. “For pets, it’s just confusion.
“They feed off our stress,” he continued. “We need to be patient with them and not pass our stress along to them.”
The Rancho Coastal Humane Society also announced last week that it will distribute more than 40,000 pounds of free pet food to nonprofit rescue groups throughout Southern California. The food was given to the Humane Society by Rescue Bank, a nonprofit operated by GreaterGood.org, that supplies pet supplies and services.
The Rancho Humane Coastal Society is located at 389 Requeza St. in Encinitas. For more information, visit rchumanesociety.org.