Operating Amidst COVID-19

*Updated Monday, September 28, 2020*


Q: Are you closed?
No! We finally reopened completely on Tuesday, June 16. Here are the current operating procedures for each Department, and how to get in touch with us for what you're needing. Please note that face masks will be required for ALL visitors, adopters, clients, staff, and volunteers entering the building.

  • Adoptions and walk-in visitation have resumed with normal hours. Please note that we strongly recommend filling out an application in advance.

  • Our Low-Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic has resumed. Schedule an appointment here. Once you already have a spay/neuter appointment scheduled, please review our updated drop-off and pickup procedures here beforehand.

  • Our Low-Cost Vaccine Clinics have resumed.

  • Our Intake Department is now scheduling appointments. Please note that it may be several days or even 1-2 weeks before we can schedule you for surrendering a pet. Do not wait until the last minute. If you think you may need to surrender an animal... make an appointment now, even if you have to cancel it later. Call (812) 426-2563 ext. 208 to get scheduled. Please review our Surrender information and fees here prior to your appointment.

  • Cardio for Canines has resumed. We have new social distancing procedures in place to make sure everyone stays healthy.

  • Mutt's Morning Out has resumed as of Tuesday, September 22.

  • Our Happy Tails Resale Shop has reopened for shopping at full capacity. Contactless donation hours moving forward will be Monday-Saturday from 9-3.

  • River Kitty Cat Café has reopened at full capacity with normal hours.

  • Emergency Food Assistance has returned on the 3rd Monday of each month. We have implemented some new social distancing procedures, and we ask for clients' patience.

Q: Why is public support continuously needed for the VHS?
The Vanderburgh Humane Society senior leadership team wants to stress to the public that donations and support are vital, now more than ever, to make sure that our animals are cared for and our team members can remain employed. The organization depends 100% on donations from the public and fees from in-person services & programming.

The VHS receives zero tax dollars or state/national funding from larger organizations.

We have experienced a reduction in public support due to the economic crisis. The temporary closure of our Happy Tails Resale Shop, Clinic, and River Kitty Cat Cafe from March through May has resulted in a significant drop in revenue to help offset expenses in our 2020 budget. We are also facing the cancellation of 4 major fundraisers.

As a reminder, expenses remain largely unchanged because a team of paid staff members must always be here to care for the the shelter’s animals and the cats at River Kitty, without any interruption in their daily routines... and that takes money. It costs about $58,000 just to operate the VHS for 2 weeks! If you are financially able:

Click here to donate online to our "Sit & Stay" COVID-19 Sustainability Fund.

As this crisis stretches on, pets must be taken into consideration when assessing families' needs. Our crucial services may become more important than ever before in the event that: 

  • Suspending spay/neuter services, as most shelters have had to do, means Kitten Season will be even more brutal than the past several years have been.
  • Households already experiencing spousal/domestic partner or child abuse, may see those situations escalating while everyone is home together. Pets are also at risk in these situations. We have already been contacted about pets needing placement through our Safe Pets program as victims try to flee their abusers.
  • Financial strain makes it more difficult for people to afford food & medications for their pets.
  • People fall ill or pass away and there is nowhere else for their pets to go.
  • Health care workers are away from home for longer hours, and need help caring for their own pets.

Q: How should pet owners prepare for coronavirus quarantines?
It is always a good idea, even in normal life, to keep a minimum supply of your pet’s needs in your home. It is important now more than ever that pet owners be prepared. Some tips to consider:

  • Food. Families should ensure that they have at least a 2-week supply (preferably longer) of their pet’s food, particularly if that food is prescription or specialty and must be ordered online. Grocery stores & pet stores are considered essential businesses, and will not close.
  • Medication. Just as you would for your own medicines, be sure that your pet’s prescriptions are filled for an extended period.
  • Check with your regular veterinarian to verify their telemedicine policies, if they have any. See what options you have if your pet becomes ill or injured, but you need to avoid going out in public. Verify your vet clinic's hours so you know where to turn if your pet needs emergency veterinary care during this crisis. Seeking urgent veterinary care for a pet in crisis is considered "essential" in Indiana.
  • Homebound pet owners. Residents should be mindful of their elderly family members or neighbors who have pets. Check in with them by phone to make sure that they have what they need and do not need to go out in public to get it.

Keep in mind that being able to order products online is dependent upon a lot of factors. Even if grocery stores & pet supply stores are well-stocked now… pandemics can shut down a lot of cities and companies in a short period of time. Supply chains could easily be interrupted. Wherever your pet’s supplies are coming from, be sure that you have what you need just in case there are manufacturing, distribution, or shipping delays.

Q: Can I catch coronavirus from my pet, or vice versa?
There is zero evidence that COVID-19 can be widely transmitted from people to pets or vice versa. The week of April 20, 2 domestic cats in New York reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Of these 2 cats, only 1 had an owner who was COVID-19 positive, and the other cat in that household is asymptomatic. Both cats are currently stable at this time. A dog also tested positive the week of April 27th. That dog had a COVID19-positive owner and the other 2 pets in the household are asymptomatic. 

There is no reason to panic, as there are still ZERO documented instances of people catching it from their pets. Families should simply adhere to social distancing guidelines with their pets as well as with the human members of their household.

Domestic cats can catch their own versions of coronavirus, which has been the case for many years. But it is not the same strain as COVID-19.

Information from the ASPCA regarding COVID-19 and pets

Q: What activities can my children and I do at home to help the animals?
Check out our blog on some crafts, activities, and reading lists (plus other ways grownups can help!) for families quarantining at home!