Helping pets and people amid COVID-19

NHS is here for the animals, but we can use your help too!

Monday, March 16, 2020 |

Here at NHS we prioritize the safety and health of our staff, volunteers, supporters and the people and animals who make up our community. We are preparing for any potential impact from COVID-19 to prevent shelter overcrowding, continue adoptions and other programming, maintain animal control services, provide support for those in need, all while maintaining the safety of both the two and four-legged, alike, who walk the halls at NHS.  

NHS is diligently following safety measures outlined by the Douglas County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are taking measures to mitigate risk by regularly disinfecting our facility. Presently we have not imposed delays or disruptions in the services we provide. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily, and will keep the public informed of any changes in our service capability, status and needs.  

The most likely impact over the coming few months is that intake of pets will increase, while adoptions will slow. This is a predictable pattern that occurs any time people feel uncertain. So, reducing intake and maintaining outcomes is essential to avoid overcrowding in the shelter. 

Here's how you can help:

Animal Intake

Stray Foster:  Those who find a stray pet will be asked to temporarily foster the found animal and help find the owner. (This can be done by posting on neighborhood apps, the Lost Pets of Omaha Facebook page etc.) This can quickly reunify pets and owners without the pet needing to enter the shelter. If that's not possible, we ask that you drop animals off in the drop-off kennels and fill out the proper paperwork to avoid face-to-face interactions. To report a lost or found pet click here.

Owner Surrender: We are asking pet owners who are not in an emergency situation, to keep their pets for 15-30 days and surrender at a later date, if possible, to cut down on the numbers coming in all at once.  Of course, pet owners in our jurisdiction who need to surrender immediately can still do so. For more information on surrendering click here

Form a Pet Emergency Plan: We recommend having an emergency plan for your pet.

  • Identify a caregiver for your pets in the event of an illness or emergency.
  • Have a two-week supply of pet food and medication on hand should you need to quarantine or isolate. 
  • Ensure your pet's microchip contact information is up to date.
  • Ensure your pet always wears a collar and tags with updated contact information.
  • Keep your pet's vaccination and medical paperwork up to date.

Animal Placement 

Emergency Foster Homes: We are recruiting emergency foster homes who may be called upon to foster dogs, cats, critters or horses, should we reach full capacity during the next few months. NHS provides all food, supplies, veterinary care and staff support to foster families. Many times, foster parents are successful in spreading the word to find permanent homes for their fosters. In these cases we can process the pet's adoption without the pet having to return to the shelter. To fill out a foster application click here.

Adoptions: We will continue to place animals for adoption however we are using an online application, and will offer adoptions only by appointment. We routinely hold reduced fee adoptions at the shelter and at off-site locations (PetSmarts). To see which animals are currently available for adoption you can check here. The website updates twice an hour during adoption hours so you are getting up to date information.

  • Check the website for available dogs, cats and critters
  • Click the photos to pull up a pet's profile to see if he or she might be a good match. Note the pet's name and i-d number.
  • Fill out an online application located at the bottom of each pet's profile. You can list up to three pets to see on any application (so you don't have to fill out three applications if you want to see up to three dogs or cats). 
  • Once you submit the application you should get an email confirming it's been sent.
  • We get many adoption applications so you will only be contacted if you are determined to be a match for the animal or animals you selected and if they are still available.
  • All animals continue to be adopted on a first come, first served basis, and shown by appointment only. Therefore we cannot guarantee that the animals you request to meet will still be available at the time we review your application. 
  • We appreciate your willingness to open your home to a shelter pet!  Please keep checking our website and submitting applicaitons for potential pets shoul we be unable to match on your first try! 

NHS Events: We are following the CDC's guidelines and will not be holding events with crowds for the forseeable future.

  • Therefore, Black Tie and Tails, scheduled for April 25, 2020, will be postponed until August 1, 2020. Any tickets or sponsorships already purchased will be honored that night. Should you wish to purchase tickets or get more information click here.
  • NHS training classes will continue as long as we have healthy staff and participants. They will be limited to 9 dogs,  each with just one handler.
  • NHS Pet Loss Support Groups are temporarily suspended. 
  • Yappy Pack Play groups are temporarily suspended.
  • All home visits for Pet Avocation Permits, Foster Care, and In-Home training are temporarily suspended. 
  • For other NHS cancellation notices, please follow us on Facebook or check our calendar of events.  If you have scheduled an event at NHS or registered for dog training or educational programming, please reach out to your NHS contact person with any inquiries you may have.  

Donations: COVID-19 has affected us all. At NHS it has affected our income, which directly impacts our ability to shelter, care for, and save animals in our community. We know everyone is stretched thin right now, but we need your help! Please consider donating to NHS so those that have no voice continue to receive the help and care they need and deserve. The best way to give right now is to make a donation online here. Due to recommendations  related to decreasing the spread of COVID-19, we are asking for no donations of towels, blankets, pet beds and the like, at this time. We are still accepting pet food, treats and kitty litter.  Again the best way to donate is online here.

As always, we cannot do what we do without our amazing community.   Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time. Hunker down, enjoy your pets, and stay safe!

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