FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — The Frederick County Animal Shelter has put adoptions on hold indefinitely as the facility aims to comply with state mandates during the coronavirus outbreak.
On Monday, the animal shelter was set to launch virtual adoptions using a live stream meet-and-greet on the shelter’s Facebook page, but plans quickly changed after Governor Larry Hogan ordered Marylanders to stay home.
“Right now we’ve put all adoptions on hold. No animals are going to forever homes through the Frederick County Animal Control at this point,” explained humane education, Bethany Davidson.
In leading up to the complete suspension of adoptions, staff adjusted with coronavirus-containment efforts through appointment-only visits, and then over-the-phone adoptions.
The facility is now closed to the public, and volunteers have been asked to stay home. But employees are continuing to care for the population of 71 animals seven days a week.
“The staff is excited to have that extra engagement with the animals. That’s not something they would normally get,” Davidson said as volunteers are typically tasked with walking and playing with the animal residents.
Davidson says they’re also reaching out to a network of community partners in an effort to house a portion of the animals.
“Right now, we’re utilizing it more just to give animals a respite from shelter life since we are unable to transition them from a cage to a home with some sort of relative quickness,” said Davidson.
Leah Fleming has been a shelter foster volunteer for about 5 years. She says working from home has given her more time to spend with the two sets kitten litters she’s recently taken in.
“It’s nice being at home and being able to do some of the fostering. It may end up that we end up having them a little bit longer than we might normally, but it’s not an issue at all. It’s good times,” Fleming explained.
Staff says 19 animals are currently in foster care.
The animal shelter does continue to operate vital programs, including the animal food bank.