COVID-19 FAQ

Is the ASPCA still operating?
COVID-19 is a serious health issue that is impacting many countries around the world and the United States. Information related to COVID-19 changes daily, and in light of this, the ASPCA is closely monitoring the situation. Because the health and safety of our staff and clients remain our top priority, we have temporarily suspended select client services. Please visit www.aspca.org for the latest updates on which services are currently available. Although we are adjusting select services in some capacity, our work isn’t stopping. Hundreds of vulnerable animals remain in our care across the ASPCA’s facilities nationwide, and these animals continue to receive the same level of daily care and enrichment from our dedicated staff.

In order to assist pet owners and animal welfare organizations affected by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we also launched the ASPCA Relief & Recovery Initiative, a $5 million multipronged strategic relief response to the crisis. The response includes an emergency relief fund for animal welfare organizations in critical need as well as the creation of regional pet food distribution centers for pet owners who face challenges providing food for their animals.
 

Is the ASPCA taking measures to keep the public and animals safe?
Yes. All ASPCA teams have implemented intensified cleaning and sanitation protocols to protect both animals and staff. We have ramped up cleaning and disinfection efforts to ensure that all ASPCA locations and vehicles are following the recommended protocols and standards to reduce the spread of germs. Additionally, all locations are equipped with hand sanitizing dispensers and we are coordinating with our vendors to ensure we have the necessary cleaning and disinfection supplies stocked for future needs.
 

Is there any evidence that the virus is transferable between humans and animals?
At this time, there is currently no evidence that companion animals can become ill with COVID-19 or transmit the virus to humans, but investigations are ongoing. Similar to the guidelines provided to minimize human transmission, the World Organisation of Animal Health currently recommends regular hand washing with soap and potable water before and after touching animals, their food, or their supplies.
 

If I get sick, should I avoid contact with my pet?
The World Organisation of Animal Health provides the following guidance:

  • There have not been any reports of companion or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 and currently there is no evidence that they play a significant epidemiological role in this human disease. However, because animals and people can sometimes share diseases (known as zoonotic diseases), it is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit contact with companion and other animals until more information is known about the virus.
  • When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.
  • When possible, people who are sick or under medical attention for COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets and have another member of their household care for their animals. If they must look after their pet, they should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask if possible.

 
How can I best care for my pet during this time?
Learn more about how to protect your pets during the COVID-19 crisis on our new page: https://www.aspca.org/news/coronavirus-keeping-your-pets-safe-during-covid-19-crisis.

The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and WSAVA Global Veterinary Community also have helpful resources available online, which provide the most current information about how to best protect yourself and animals from COVID-19.
 

What happens to animals at ASPCA facilities during a period when limited services are available due to COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a serious health issue that is impacting many countries around the world and the United States. Information related to COVID-19 changes daily, and in light of this, the ASPCA is closely monitoring the situation. This includes continually assessing the potential impacts to animals and considering impacts to ASPCA operations in order to keep staff, volunteers, clients, and key partners informed so we can continue to prioritize the health and safety of our people, animals and community while we help animals in need across the country. Please visit www.aspca.org for the latest updates on which services are currently available.

The ASPCA will continue to care for vulnerable animals to ensure that they receive daily care and enrichment. We have implemented intensified cleaning and sanitation protocols to protect both animals and staff. Across all of our facilities across the country, we are continuing to deliver high quality care to meet the animals' physical and behavioral needs, including veterinary care and enrichment, training, and behavior support as appropriate for their specific condition.
 

How can I help the ASPCA? Can I foster or adopt?
Thanks to our extensive network of foster homes, we were quickly able to temporarily move most of the animals from our Adoption Center into foster homes so that we have the capacity to best serve the most vulnerable animals and support our animal welfare partners. At this time, we do not have a need for additional fosters, but we will in the coming months. We encourage NYC and L.A. residents to sign up for an online foster orientations at aspca.org/foster so you can be ready to take in foster animals when they become available.

If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in adopting, we currently have cats and kittens with foster families who are looking for loving homes: aspca.org/LAAdoptions. In alignment with the CDC’s guidelines around social distancing, our foster program is set up to provide minimal-exposure and (human-human) contact-free adoptions.

In these uncertain times, our work doesn’t stop. There are still hundreds of animals in our care—at our Adoption Center, in our behavioral rehabilitation programs and in our kitten nursery—who will continue to receive the same level of service from our dedicated staff. Please consider making a donation tohelp us remain prepared for the unknown and help vulnerable animals who depend on us.
 

What is happening to animals in shelters around the country as a result of COVID-19?
Animal shelters are faced with reduced staff and volunteer support during this time. As a result, they are very likely to have animals in need of temporary or permanent sheltering and re-homing due to impacts on pet owners in the community. Continuing to support animal shelters during this human-health emergency is very much needed, and we encourage you to contact your local shelter to see where their greatest needs lie. Visit www.aspca.org/adopt-pet/find-shelter to search for local shelters near you.
 

Is there a concern about animals being abandoned?
We encourage all pet owners to proactively identify a caretaker who could help with pet care in the event that they're unable to. If an emergency caregiver’s assistance is needed, make it easier for them by having all of your pets’ information in one place. Learn more about how to protect your pets during the COVID-19 crisis on our new page: https://www.aspca.org/news/coronavirus-keeping-your-pets-safe-during-covid-19-crisis

At this time, there is currently no evidence that companion animals can become ill with COVID-19 or transmit the virus to humans. When possible, people who are sick or under medical attention for COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets and have another member of their household care for their animals. If they must look after their pet, they should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask if possible.
 

How can I help animal shelters and shelter pets during the outbreak?
We encourage you to contact your local shelter or rescue to see where their greatest needs lie during this complicated time. Some great ways to help may include fostering a pet in your home, promoting adoptable animals on social media, or making a charitable gift! Visit www.aspca.org/adopt-pet/find-shelter to search for local shelters near you.
 

Will pet adoptions decrease during this time?
Shelters around the country need your help now more than ever, as they actively seek adoptive and/or foster homes for the animals in their care. You should contact your local shelter to find out what they need, and you can visit their website to search for adoptable animals to help spread the word by sharing their profiles on your own social media accounts. Visit www.aspca.org/adopt-pet/find-shelter to search for local shelters near you.
 

Where is the ASPCA providing free pet food, and who is eligible to receive food?
ASPCA pet food distribution centers are located in these cities for a limited time:

  • New York City, serving the five boroughs
  • Los Angeles, serving Los Angeles County
  • Miami, serving Miami City and Miami-Dade County
  • Asheville, North Carolina, serving Buncombe County

There are no income requirements to receive the food. To best protect our staff and clients, food and supplies will be available by appointment only to limit the number of people gathered. Call the ASPCA Pet Food Distribution Helpline at (800) 738-9437 for more information and to request an appointment.