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Ag. and Forestry Commissioner: Don't abandon pets because of coronavirus

Shelter dog generic
Posted at 12:33 AM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 17:58:09-04

The state agriculture and forestry department is urging pet owners in Louisiana to not abandon or surrender their pets during the conoravirus pandemic.

According to Commisioner Mike Strain, shelters are being overrun with people giving up their animals.

"We understand these are uncertain times," said Strain in a press release. "If you are ill with coronavirus (COVID-19), follow the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

The CDC released the following information regarding pets and the coronavirus:

  • It is not believed pets can be infected with COVID-19 nor is it believed they can spread the disease. However, pets may “temporarily harbor the virus” on the coat or other areas of the pet’s body.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, allow a family member to care for your pets. If no one is available, maintain a safe distance from your pet and frequently wash your hands before and after contact with your pet.
  • If you are hospitalized and family members cannot provide care, check with your local veterinary clinic, boarding facility or with a public animal shelter on availability for care.
  • Anyone who cares for a pet that has been in contact with an infected human, bathing the animal with a pet shampoo immediately should remove virus particles from the coat of the pet. Isolation from other animals is also recommended. Wear gloves, a face mask and immediately change your clothes after bathing the pet.

Strain says that every family should have a pet plan in case they are unable to care for their pets due to contracting the coronavirus.

Among the suggestions are keeping extra food and medications on hand for pets and to wash hands before and after handling pets, their food and supplies.