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Lac La Biche Regional Humane Society closed to the public

Can pets get COVID-19?

Two-legged traffic to most municipal facilities in the Lac La Biche region, plus restrictions in parks and recreation areas, have kept people away from some of their regular visiting spots — but what the effects on the four-legged population?

Following in the footsteps of the recent closures and access restrictions, the Lac La Biche Regional Humane Society (LLBRHS) shut its shelter doors to walk-ins on Monday, and will only take in animals if it is an emergency. The access restriction — put in place to reduce human interraction moreso than animal contact —  is to keep the workers and volunteers who run the humane society healthy, so there won’t be any lack of care for the animals during this unpredictable and stressful time. 

“We believe that as a responsible service organization in our region, our top priority (aside from animal care) is to ensure that we practice social distancing during this very difficult time,” says MJ Siebold, the chairperson and founder of LLBRHS. “Not only does this protect our staff and volunteers, but also our patrons. Given the challenges presented to our staff & volunteers resulting from school  and daycare closures, we needed to ensure that the rescues currently in our care continue to receive quality care regardless of those challenges.”

Pets highly unlikely to carry virus

Taking into consideration the animals during the COVID-19 pandemic, many pet owners have been wondering if their fur babies can get the virus. Especially taking into account the virus was contracted by an animal, people are questioning if this puts their pets at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pet owners should not be worried. Even though there has been one case where a dog was tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong this week, and passed away - the CDC says owners need not panic. 

In an article by HuffPost titled, “Worried About Your Dog or Cat? Here’s What to Know,” experts say if it was a real problem, there would have a lot more cases. 

“I think we are far enough into this pandemic that if animals were, in fact, able to be infected, we would have already heard of a report on an ill dog and/or cats presenting to various veterinary hospitals throughout the world,” Chicago-based veterinarian Jerry Klein says in their story.

Even though pets will most likely be just fine during the pandemic, it is still recommended that pet owners should restrict contact with their pets if they themselves are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The CDC suggests if possible having someone else look after the pet when the owner is unwell, avoid contact like petting and cuddling their pet, and finally to make sure proper hand-washing is done before and after being in contact with an animal or pet, as well as using a face mask. It is also recommended to avoid any pet playdates, and to practice social distancing with not only other people but other pets too. 

The LLBRHS will not be available by phone during the closure, with Siebold suggesting pet owners or residents with quesions contact them through social media or