Mar 13, 2020



(Evansville, IN – March 13, 2020) The Vanderburgh Humane Society is reminding the public of some pet safety tips surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The shelter is also preparing internally for worst-cast scenario should it eventually be necessary to close to the public. Here are some frequently-asked questions regarding pets and the coronavirus.

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.
  • Medication. Just as you would for your own medicines, be sure that your pet’s prescriptions are filled for an extended period.
  • 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.

The VHS has already begun the process of ensuring that the shelter is stocked with ample food, medications, and supplies to care for the 216 animals currently in their care.

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. Dogs and 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. Therefore, COVID-19 poses no threat to them based on the facts we have at this time.

Q: Are you canceling any VHS services or programs?

As of Friday, March 13th:

  • All Spay/Neuter Clinic appointments still stand. There is no plan to shut down our Clinic at this time. We currently have all of the medical supplies required to perform surgeries & vaccinations as usual. If this changes, we will assess at that time.
  • Our Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic scheduled for Saturday, March 14th is still proceeding at this time.
  • Our General Business, Adoptions, Intakes, Happy Tails Resale Shop, and Cardio for Canines departments/programs are still in place. There are no plans to shut them down at this time.
  • River Kitty Cat Café is still open as usual with regular hours.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program will still be held as scheduled on Monday, March 16th from 12:00-3:00 on a first-come first-served basis. However, we are preemptively canceling food assistance for the month of April so that we can retain all donated food & supplies here at the shelter in case of an emergency. Food assistance will resume when the threat of coronavirus has passed. Updates will be provided on the VHS website’s Food Assistance page.

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 200+ animals are cared for. The organization depends 100% on donations from the public and fees from in-person services & programming including:

  • Clinic fees
  • adoption fees
  • Happy Tails Resale Shop revenue
  • River Kitty Cat Café revenue

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

Any reduction in public support or an eventual closure would mean a significant drop in public-facing revenue to help offset those expenses.

As a reminder, even if the shelter is closed to the public, expenses will remain largely unchanged because a team of paid staff members must be there to care for the animals (much like other local nonprofits who are serving/housing living humans or animals onsite.) Several wonderful volunteers also assist, but volunteers are not ever required to be here. Additionally, many VHS volunteers are retired or older, and would be encouraged to stay home in the event of a local coronavirus outbreak. In the event of a closure, the shelter’s animals and the cats at River Kitty will always be cared for without any interruption in their daily routines.

Click here to donate online.

All updates regarding COVID-19 closures and/or public procedures will be posted on our website and communicated with individual clients as needed.