3/30 Update:

Can COVID-19 be spread from people to pets?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) there is no evidence that pets can become sick with COVID-19 or spread it to people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. We encourage you to monitor both websites for the latest updates.

How can I stay healthy around animals?

In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection at this time. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.

  • Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
  • Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
  • Take pets to the veterinarian regularly and talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.

For more information, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.

Is there a risk to pets?

CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

My pet is sick but I’m not able to leave my house. How can I get help?

As concerns grow surrounding COVID-19 and the impact it will have on our country, Best Friends is offering free veterinary consultations for 30 days to people unable to leave their homes through their Best Friends Vet Access app when you use the code BFHELPS.

Calls can be recorded and the service will be offered 24 hours a day. If you need medical assistance for your pet, please take advantage of this temporarily free service. Please note, the code BFHELPS is valid for 30 days, and the service is $12.99 after that unless canceled.

What should I do to prepare for my pet’s care, just in case I do get sick?

Here are some key actions you can take to prepare and help ensure the safety and care of your pets:  

  • Identify a trusted person to care for your them if members of your household become ill or are hospitalized. 
  • Make sure your pets all have proper identification. Ensure microchip information is up to date in case you and your pet are separated. Found Animals offers a free registry for existing microchips at: https://www.foundanimals.org/microchip-registry/
  • Ensure all vaccinations are current. 
  • Keep a crate, food and extra supplies on hand. 
  • Document all medications with dosages and administering instructions.
  • Print out these cards to put on your doors/windows to alert responders that you have pet(s) in your home needing assistance in case of emergency.

We recommend having on hand at least a one-month supply of your pets’ medications, litter and food, as well as making sure your pets are current with vaccinations and that you have records. The CDC advises people to put together a complete pet disaster preparedness kit as part of an overall household readiness plan.

How do I protect my pets if I am sick?

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help ensure both you and your animals stay healthy.

When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. Avoid contact with your pet including, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them. For more information visit: What to Do if You are Sick.

If I am sick and need to be hospitalized, where can my pet stay?

Create a plan for your pet now, just in case you face illness or another emergency. Reach out to family, friends, your regular pet sitter and neighbors to see who can temporarily care for your pet if you are hospitalized. Research doggy daycare centers, kennels and vet offices that provide overnight and extended care and have their contact information handy in case of an emergency.

Have pet preparedness kits ready for all animals in your family. They should include information about each animal, updated vet records, medications, and food. Be sure everyone in your household can locate these kits

Can I still take my dog for a walk?

If you are healthy, outdoor activities are safe when practiced within the current guidelines. According to the CDC, you should avoid touching surfaces and stay at least six feet away from other people.) Outdoor breaks are good for you and your pup during this challenging time.

If you are sick, it’s a good idea to have another member of your household care for your animals if possible. Avoid contact with your pet including, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/animals.html

I found a stray animal and my local shelter is closed. What should I do?

If you are unable to find any identification on the stray animal, you may wish to keep them in your home. If you decide to keep the animal in your home, it is important to register them in our found pets database. This is a listing of all found animals in New York City, both in the shelter and in homes, and is one of the first places pet parents go to try and locate their lost animal.

If you’ve found stray kittens, please read the resource below which provides information on figuring out whether to leave the kittens alone or take action.

What to do if you find kittens.

If my pet becomes lost, where should I start looking?

  • ACC is currently open by appointment only, so please contact us before you visit.
  • If you pet is microchipped, contact the microchip company to put out a lost pet alert on your pet’s microchip number. Make sure your contact information is up to date.
  • Create a lost pet flyer (free flyer-maker program is available at pawboost.com) and circulate it across social channels. Examples include: Lost and found Facebook groups, Craigslist, Nextdoor, etc. You could also print hard copies of the flyer to distribute around your neighborhood.
  • Call local vet clinics and hospitals to see if they’ve received any animals and offer to send them a digital copy of the flyer to have on hand. 

More tips about how to find your lost pet can be found here.

Update for Interested Adopters:

Thank you for your interest in adopting an animal from Animal Care Centers of NYC! At this time, we are not having members of the public come in to browse animals. If you see an animal on our website that you are interested in fostering or adopting, please email adopt@nycacc.org and an adoption counselor will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss the next steps in your adoption process.

As we learn more about the coronavirus we wanted to share with the public what steps ACC is taking in response to prepare for any possible impacts that COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) has on our animals and the community of pets and people we serve. Regular updates concerning changes to our services will be posted on our website.

Taking care of the homeless and abandoned animals of NYC cannot be done by working remotely. Currently, we are focused on two activities: reducing onsite population through a major appeal for fosters, adoptions and placement; and managing and minimizing the number of new animals entering the shelter. To succeed we need the help of the community.

For general questions, please call (212) 788-4000 or email info@nycacc.org. We will try to respond as soon as possible, with the understanding that we are running on limited capacity. ACC continues to monitor the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and prioritizes the safety of our animals, visitors, staff and volunteers.

Short-term Emergency Measures

  • ACC is asking people to avoid surrendering healthy pets, following the guidance provided by the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA). NACA is advising animal shelters to take extra measures to reduce shelter intake to mitigate the short and long-term effects of COVID-19. If you are not facing an immediate crisis please consider surrendering your pet at a later date. For any pet owners who need to surrender immediately, we will still take their pets.
  • Fosters needed to decrease on site population to help us prepare for the worst: ACC needs 200 “on call” emergency fosters, who can take home a pet if ACC reaches critical capacity. ACC will need fosters for all types of pets but housing for medium and large dogs and pets with medical issues will be most needed. ACC provides vet care, crates, supplies, and food. People can sign up to be an on-call emergency foster caregiver. *Due to such an amazing response for fosters, sign-ups are temporarily closed as we sort through thousands of submissions.* Please click here and sign up to be alerted when foster applications open back up.
  • Found a stray pet? ACC is also asking people who find friendly stray pets to consider fostering them until the shelter can resume normal operations. Pets typically stay pretty close to home when they go missing, so this helps get pets home much more quickly, without having to endure the stress of the shelter. Stray finders can take the pet to a vet clinic or to ACC to check for a microchip, file a found report, and hold the pet to give the owner time to locate it. Consider using the lost & found apps Shadow and PawBoost, they can help by making the reunification instead of ACC.
  • Closings: The ACC Bronx and Queens Resource will be closed until further notice starting tomorrow, 3/14. Staten Island ACC will be open from 9am - 5pm until further notice. Mobile Adoption Events for this weekend (3/14 and 3/15) have been canceled.
  • Plan ahead: Pet owners are encouraged to make plans for their pets in case someone in the home falls ill. People should stock up on two extra weeks of pet supplies and identify a pet sitter who can help out if the pet owner becomes hospitalized.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement saying there is no evidence that dogs or cats can be infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • For information about local impacts of coronavirus on humans and guidance for keeping yourself and others healthy, please follow the dedicated page on the NYC Department of Health website. We highly recommend that everyone sign up for the city’s text notification system to get regular updates. Text COVID to 692-692. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest developments.

      Other Resources

      University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine
      Animal Services' Role in COVID-19 Support

      COVID19 FAQ for pet owners, AVMA

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      World Health Organization

      New Yorkers have a rich history of helping each other during hard times. Now more than ever we need to band together as a community to get through this crisis.