MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Stuck at home? Feeling a little lonely because of social distancing? Now may be the perfect time to add a furry friend to the family, even if it is just temporary.

Animal shelters and rescues across the country and in South Florida are asking people to consider becoming pet fosters as some shelters are closing or providing critical services only, including the Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department.

The Department is operating on mission-essential services including:

Animal Welfare Officers will continue to respond to high priority/emergency calls such as: injured or suffering animals, cruelty and requests from police officers for assistance with animals. Road-side deceased animal pick-up services also continue.

Adoptions are also still taking place as well at the Pet Adoption and Protection Center in Doral, following guidelines for social distancing. There is also an adoption center at the Petco in South Miami.

All adoption fees are both locations are being waived.

Emergency fosters who can temporarily provide in-home care for shelter pets are also needed. The most urgent housing needs are for medium and large dogs and pets with special needs. ASD will provide veterinary care, supplies, and food for fostered pets. Interested fosters can email: ASDFOSTER@miamidade.gov for additional information.

The Wellness Clinic in Doral is open for rabies vaccinations only.

Animal care workers, veterinary technicians, veterinarians and volunteers continue to care for the shelter pet population.

The shelter is now open Monday – Sundays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The following programs and services are suspended until further notice.

  • Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (TNVR) Services are suspended
  • All orientation and training sessions for new volunteers, fosters and Kitten Cuddlers are suspended. Current volunteers, fosters and Kitten Cuddlers may continue
  • All scheduled and walk-in spay/neuter surgeries for the general public are suspended
  • Off-site adoption events are suspended until further notice
  • Animal Services asks residents to avoid surrendering pets unless absolutely necessary. This request follows guidelines from NACA, which has advised animal shelters to take extra measures to reduce shelter intake to mitigate the short and long-term effects of COVID-19
  • ASD asks anyone who finds friendly stray pets to consider fostering them until normal operations resume. Pets typically stay close to home when they go missing. Good Samaritans can use the following resources to help lost pets:
  • Look for any identification on the pet, including phone number, address and/or the Miami-Dade County license with a QR code
  • Download the Finding Rover Facial Recognition app
  • Bring the pet to a veterinary clinic or to ASD to check for a microchip
  • Visit the ASD website to register the found pet
  • ASD has temporarily suspended the issuance of civil violations notices associated with rabies vaccination and license renewals
  • Residents may renew licenses for their pets by mail. Read more information on licensing

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement stating there is no evidence that dogs or cats can be infected or spread the virus that causes COVID-19. Always avoid handling pets if you are sick and avoid touching animals you don’t know.

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