Coronavirus

Coronavirus

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our continued focus is to protect the wellbeing and safety of our animals, staff, volunteers, and visitors. 

 

We are committed to ongoing and transparent communications. There will be frequent updates on our website, social media channels, and through emails.

 

Thank you for helping us help the animals in need while keeping our humans safe as well. Please donate if you are able. 

Spay and neuter appointments for feral cats (not domestic cats) are now available. Learn more and make an appointment.  Animal adoptions are being facilitated through an online application and virtual meet and greet adoption process. Please view available animals before you complete an application.

Thanks to generous donors, the expanded Friends Who Care program has reopened to accept a limited number of applications to provide pet care kits for pet owners affected by COVID-19.

Effective Monday, April 6, The Anti-Cruelty Society NOW offers a  virtual adoption process.

Here’s how it works! 

  1. Choose Your Pet: View all of the animals available for adoption here. Once you find someone who catches your eye, check their current location by clicking their photo. If it’s an animal listed as in foster care, move onto step 2. If it’s a pet listed as being at a PetSmart, please call the store directly to inquire about next steps.
  2. Complete an Adoption Questionnaire: If the pet you’re interested in adopting is currently in foster care, please cut and paste the link to complete the cat or dog virtual adoption questionnaire which is listed in that pet’s online bio. Please answer each question in detail to ensure we have everything we need to move you onto step 3. Note that all standard adoption requirements apply.
  3. Consultation Completion: Once we receive your completed form, our adoption team will reach out to complete your adoption consultation. They’ll request additional records, such as  a copy of your driver’s license or state ID, along with verifying that you currently live in pet-friendly housing. They’ll also confirm that your current pets are up-to-date on vaccinations. Consultations will also include a phone call between you and a member of our adoption team to discuss additional information about the pet. 
  4. Connect with the Foster: Following the adoption consultation we’ll help you set-up a virtual meeting with the foster. During the meeting you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the pet’s day-to-day life directly from the foster. If the meeting goes well, and you think you’ve found your match, we’ll complete the final steps with you virtually. These include the adoption contract, adoption fee, records, and adoption counseling.

A few things to keep in mind if you’re interested in utilizing our virtual adoption process:

·   To ensure the safety of our staff, fosters, and the public, we are not scheduling in-person meetings with pets at this time.

·   Adoption inquiries are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. We do not place holds on animals.

·   Though we are closed to the public, we are still offering post-adoption support services to our adopters.

·   In the event that you follow through with an adoption only to find that you and the pet are not a good match know that we’re here to support you! We will happily accept the animal back if there are any concerns. We offer full refunds to adopters if an animal is returned to us within 30 days of the original adoption date. Our hope is that you won’t have to return your new pet, but also understand that there’s an art to matchmaking that may be lost in this virtual process.

If you have any questions regarding adopting through The Anti-Cruelty Society during the COVID-19 pandemic, email us at adoption@anticruelty.org.

The expanded Friends Who Care application process is still suspended at this time as we process existing requests.

The expanded Friends Who Care program was launched on March 31. Within 2 days, we received over 4,000 applications. In order to process these requests, we are not accepting new applications at this time. We are working reopen this program, if possible. Please check back for updated information. 

March 31: The Anti-Cruelty Society has launched an expanded Friends Who Care program open to anyone impacted by COVID-19 who needs assistance to provide food for their pets. This program offers a delivery of pet food and care items for anyone hospitalized, quarantined or who lost their job during this thiem. For more information, click here

The Anti-Cruelty Society remains closed to the public and adoptions have been suspended. We are not training new fosters at this time. We continue to provide emergency surrender and end of life services by appointment only at 312-644-8338.

In keeping with the state mandates for COVID-19, The Anti-Cruelty Society will be reducing its staff and programs to essential services only. Adoption and foster placements remain suspended. We will take appointments for emergency surrenders and end-of-life services by calling 312-644-8338 between the hours of 9 a.m and 5 p.m.  Intake hours are from 11 a.m.  with the last appointment at 4 p.m.  

March 20, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. 
In response to Governor Pritzker’s shelter in place mandate, The Anti-Cruelty Society will suspend all adoptions by the end of business day, Friday, March 20 at our main River North facility at 510 N. LaSalle, and at our Everyday Adoption Center at the South Loop PetSmart at 1101 S. Canal. 

Foster animal placements will also be suspended at the end of Friday, March 20. Fosters already scheduled for training will be asked to complete their training online but no animals will be available for foster for the time being. There is currently a waiting list for new foster volunteers. For more information visit anticruelty.org/e-foster. 

Essential services will still be offered through our River North facility for owner requested end-of-life services and emergency pet surrenders only. Appointments must be made in advance for these services by calling 312-644-8338 although appointments will be limited based on availability of staff. 

The Society will remain staffed only with essential employees to care for the remaining animals, including sheltering, feeding, and addressing medical needs. 
Community programs that will continue to be offered during this time are: 
Friends Who Care: This program assists senior citizens who do not have access to food or pet care supplies. For information and guidelines, visit anticruelty.org/seniors.

Short-term Accommodations for Emergencies (SAFE): During the coronavirus pandemic, people who are hospitalized and cannot find an alternate space for their animal can contact The Anti-Cruelty Society at volunteer@anticruelty.org for short term pet housing support. 
Home to Home Adoptions: For people who are unable to care for their animals and want to find an adopter, The Anti-Cruelty Society will share their animal’s photo and information/bio to help reach potential adoptions and avoid bringing their pet to the shelter. Email education@anticruelty.org for information about Home to Home adoptions. 

The Anti-Cruelty Society is committed to caring for and protecting animals and we are doing our best to support their needs as well as the needs of our staff and volunteers during the pandemic. 

We appreciate the more than 200 people who stepped up this week to adopt and foster animals. 
 

We have closed our building to visitors without appointments. All community outreach and education programs have been cancelled. 

The Anti-Cruelty Society be providing access by appointment only for the following services:

Adoptions: Any adoptions at the River North Adoption Center at 510 N. LaSalle will require an appointment which can be made at anticruelty.org/adoptions. Any adoptions at the PetSmart locations will follow PetSmart protocols. To view all currently available animals for adoption, visit anticruelty.org/adopt.
 
Fosters: Anyone interested in fostering should set up an appointment and follow the information online at anticruelty.org/e-foster. Virtual fostering orientation will be in place soon. 
 
Owner Surrender: Anyone considering surrendering a pet should delay doing so, if possible. If this is not possible, call 312-644-8338 to set up an appointment to speak with The Anti-Cruelty Society intake staff.
 
Community Engagement: The Anti-Cruelty Society offers several programs that are still in effect during this time:
Friends Who Care. This is a program for senior citizens who are not able to get access to food or pet care supplies. For information and guidelines, visit anticruelty.org/seniors
Short-term Accommodations for Emergencies (SAFE): During the coronavirus pandemic, people who are hospitalized and cannot find an alternate space for their animal can contact The Anti-Cruelty Society at volunteer@anticruelty.org for short term pet housing support.
Home to Home Adoptions. For people who are unable to care for their animals and want to find an adopter, The Anti-Cruelty Society will share their animal’s photo and bio to help reach potential adoptions. Email education@anticruelty.org for information about Home to Home adoptions.

The Anti-Cruelty Society is part of The Chicagoland Lifesaving Coalition which is a group of local shelters working together to support the wellbeing of animals. This joint message represents the position of the Coalition regarding COVID-19.

In these unprecedented and uncertain times, our organizations come together to share important information about COVID-19 with our communities.

1. The World Health Organization (WHO) states there is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19.  

2. It is imperative that guardians of companion pets make plans for their care in the event of any emergency. The following recommendations will help in times of emergency:

  • Identify a trusted family member or friend to care for your pets if someone in your household becomes ill or is hospitalized.
  • Research potential facilities in case boarding your pet becomes necessary.  
  • Have crates, food and extra supplies for your pet available in case it is necessary to move them or if it becomes necessary to reduce exposure. 
  • All animal vaccines should be up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering instructions. Including the prescription from the prescribing veterinarian is also helpful.
  • Pets should have identification including a collar with current identification tags and a registered microchip.

3. Our organizations are making programming changes day by day and we have canceled many events.  We are all following public health recommendations for disinfecting public areas regularly throughout the day and ensuring that our staff, volunteers and animals are healthy.  Please check our websites to learn about any updated closures.

At this time, we do not know what the next few weeks may bring although we are all actively working to get as many shelter pets into good homes as possible.  Please consider adopting or signing up to foster with any of our organizations. 

As trusted partners in animal care, we will continue to keep you updated through our websites and social media.    

Animal Care League
Chicago Canine Rescue
DuPage County Animal Care and Control
Evanston Animal Shelter
Hinsdale Humane Society
One Tail at a Time
Safe Humane
South Suburban Humane Society
The Anti-Cruelty Society
Tree House Humane Society

The Anti-Cruelty Society Launches Emergency Relief Foster Program
Volunteers needed to provide temporary foster care in response to COVID-19 threat

The Anti-Cruelty Society is seeking 100+ pet-friendly homes to foster adoptable animals in anticipation of staffing challenges due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and to provide space in the event people who are impacted by the virus need to find a safe place for their animals. 

The new Emergency Relief Foster Program provides people with an opportunity to provide temporary homes for cats, dogs, and rabbits who are already available for adoption, and by doing so, clear out shelter space for animals who need emergency boarding due to owner hospitalization. “It is expected that the Society will close its River North Adoption Center in the coming days for public animal adoptions and with potential staffing challenges, we need to ensure that the animals are cared for. Foster homes are the best option to provide consistent care for the animals,” says Lydia Krupinski, Vice President 

“We need caring people who are willing to open their hearts and homes to adoptable animals so together we can support the community during this challenging time,” says Clare Hamilton, Foster Coordinator for The Anti-Cruelty Society. “This emergency relief foster network allows us to provide immediate assistance for pets and people in need.” 

The Society will provide training for fosters as well as supplies needed to care for the animals. It is estimated that animals will be placed in foster care for 30 to 60 days. People who are interested in volunteering for the Society’s Emergency Foster Relief Program can sign up to attend an upcoming Foster Orientation at https://anticruelty.org/emergency-relief-fosters.

Pet owners affected by the spread of the virus who are temporarily unable to care for their animals can arrange for their pets to be cared for by The Anti-Cruelty Society through the SAFE (Short-term Accommodations for Emergencies) program. Details about the program can be found at anticruelty.org/safe.

  1.  
  2. We have several important updates to share regarding COVID-19. As we remain open for adoptions and intake, our continued focus is to protect the wellbeing of our animals, staff, volunteers, and visitors. In light of the continued spread of the Coronavirus in Chicago, and beyond, we are now taking the following measures:
  3. Disinfection and cleaning protocols: The maintenance team has increased the rate and intensity of disinfection. Disinfection stations, which include wipes and hand sanitizer, have also been placed throughout the building. We are urging staff to assist maintenance in disinfecting frequently touched surfaces throughout the day. This includes, but is not limited to, door knobs, handles, elevator buttons, and tables.
  4. Building signage: Signs have been placed throughout the building to encourage people to wash their hands, limit interpersonal contact, and stay home when sick.
  5. New Emergency Relief Foster Program: Another way we are responding to the spread of the virus is through the expansion of our foster program. The Emergency Relief Foster Program is a new effort that will train on-call fosters to house animals in times of crisis. Work is already underway to recruit caretakers to foster cats, dogs, and rabbits who are currently available for adoption, and by doing so, clear out shelter space for pets who may need emergency boarding due to owner hospitalization.
  6. Companion Animals. For now, there is no evidence that companion animals can transmit or become sick due to this Coronavirus. Still, it is a good idea to wash your hands after contact with pets.
  7. We will continue to evaluate the spread of the virus and its impact on the work of the Society so that we can take proactive measures to help us keep our staff, volunteers, visitors, and animals healthy.  The Anti-Cruelty Society

As you know, we have all been carefully monitoring the spread of COVID-19 including recommendations for how to best prepare for the suspected increase of the virus in and around Chicago. While the risk in Chicago remains low at this time, we are seeing cases that impact the groups who generally visit The Anti-Cruelty Society. In an abundance of precaution, we have made an institutional decision to postpone community education and outreach programs until we are sure the risk for spreading the virus has been passed

We know that your group was looking forward to visiting with us but as a matter of public safety, we do not want to put you or your group at any potential risk. We are working to establish our own protocols and procedures so that we limit exposure for our staff, volunteers, visitors, and animals. 

We look forward to welcoming you to The Anti-Cruelty Society as soon as this health situation is resolved. Until then, please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this postponement may cause. Please feel free to contact community programs at education@anticruelty.org to discuss any details regarding this program suspension. 

Thank you for your continued support and understanding. 

Q: WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS?

A: “Coronavirus” refers to a group of pathogens (RNA viruses) that cause respiratory and intestinal diseases. They can infect both humans and animals and sometimes spread to humans from other animals.

There are many regularly arranged protrusions on the surface of coronavirus particles, making them look like a crown or the sun’s corona when viewed under a microscope. “Corona” means “crown” in Latin.

Until the end of 2019, we were familiar with six coronaviruses that affect humans. Four are quite common and generally result in minor respiratory symptoms, like the common cold. The other two have greater impact on people and are rare: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS). A new, seventh coronavirus has now been identified in humans.

Q: WHAT IS COVID-19? 

A: COVIS-19, commonly known as Coronavirus, is from a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases and the most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. Right now, treatment relies on the basics - keeping the patient's body going, including breathing support, until their immune system can fight off the virus. The severity of illness or how many people will fall ill from Coronavirus is unknown at this time. For the general American public, such as workers in non-healthcare settings, the immediate health risk from the virus  is considered low. The CDC and its partners will continue to monitor national and international data on the severity of illness caused by the virus. At present, work to develop a vaccine is under way.

Doctors first identified the new coronavirus, temporarily called 2019-nCoV, in the city of Wuhan, China, in late December 2019. Researchers quickly analyzed its genetic information, or genome, to learn that it is 70% identical to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus. This information helps us understand how the virus is likely to behave and its impacts on humans.

Q: HOW IS COVID-19 TRANSMITTED? 

A: Coronaviruses are spread mainly through close contact (within about six feet, according to the CDC, for a prolonged period), when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and another person comes into contact with the infectious droplets — which is how the flu and many other pathogens spread. Some evidence suggests that the new coronavirus may spread via fecal matter, so wash your hands after using the restroom. In some environments, coronaviruses can survive on surfaces, so regular sanitation of shared surfaces is important.

Q: CAN PETS GET SICK FROM OR SPREAD COVID-19?

A: There is no evidence that companion animals can transmit or become sick due to this coronavirus. Still, it is always a good idea to wash your hands after contact with pets. 

Q: WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?

A: In most cases, they are mild and resemble a cold or flu: coughing, sneezing, fever. Some individuals have complained of a sore throat or mild diarrhea. A small portion of cases advance to more severe symptoms, including shortness of breath.

 Q: HOW LONG AFTER EXPOSURE DOES IT TAKE FOR THE SYMPTOMS TO DEVELOP? 

A: The CDC estimates that it takes between 2 to 14 days after exposure for symptoms to develop.

Q: WHO IS AT RISK FOR SERIOUS ILLNESS FROM COVID-19?

A: As with the flu, the elderly and individuals with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to infections or complications are more likely to develop a serious illness. Unlike the flu, children and young adults are less likely to develop a serious illness.

Since COVID-19 poses a greater risk to certain populations, please support the decisions others make for their own safety. The CDC offers guidance to assist high-risk populations.

Q: IS THERE A TREATMENT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE COVID-19?

A: There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Instead, people infected with SARS-CoV-2 should receive supportive care to relieve symptoms and, in severe cases, support vital organ functions. The CDC provides excellent guidelines for care.

PREVENTION AND PREPAREDNESS

Q: HOW DO I MINIMIZE THE LIKELIHOOD OF CATCHING COVID-19?

A: The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus, because there is currently no vaccine. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of all respiratory viruses.

  Preventive actions that you can take include:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; disinfectants with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or 62-71% ethanol significantly reduce coronavirus infectivity.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.   

Q: HOW IS THE ANTI-CRUELTY SOCIETY ADDRESSING THIS HEALTH CONCERN?

A: Our goal is to ensure the safety of the animals and humans associated with The Anti-Cruelty Society. 

The Anti-Cruelty Society has established a Task Force that is closely monitoring the situation. The group consists of key staff members from Operations, Animal Advancement, Adoption Experience, Clinic, Community Programs/Volunteers/Fosters, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications, Development, Finance and senior leadership.

Q: WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD STAFF TAKE AT THIS TIME?

A: Information about the virus and what precautions should be taken are similar to any precautions taken during flu season: wash your hands often with soap and water when possible or hand sanitizer; stay home if you are not feeling well and connect with your personal physician; be mindful of your interactions with others (limit personal contact such as hand shaking or other close contact; limit in-person meetings.  As the Society establishes procedures and messaging, it will be shared with all Society audiences: staff, volunteers, fosters, donors and supports, and the community-at-large who engage with the Society. 

Employees who are well but have a sick family member at home with the Coronavirus should notify their supervisor and refer to the CDC guidelines to determine their potential exposure. 

Q: SHOULD I COME TO WORK IF I AM NOT FEELING WELL? 

A: No. If you are not feeling well, please stay away from work and contact your supervisor and call the sickline at 312-645-8086.  If you become ill at home or away from work, contact your personal doctor and seek medical care through them. If they diagnose you with influenza or COVID-19, please inform Human Resources. No matter where you are, if you become short of breath, call 911 immediately and avoid close contact with other people.

 Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I OR SOMEONE IN MY HOUSEHOLD MAY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO OR DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19?

A: If you or someone in your household may have been exposed to COVID-19 or were recently in a country for which the CDC has issued a Warning Level 3 notice, please notify HR by email. You may be advised to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. If so, make sure you talk with HR and your supervisor. To prevent the spread of infection in your home, refer to CDC guidelines. If you or the member of your household begin to display symptoms, seek medical advice. Do not return to work until cleared to do so by your physician. 

Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM DISTRESSED ABOUT COVID-19 AND ANXIOUS ABOUT THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF MYSELF, MY FAMILY, OR THE ANIMALS AT THE SOCIETY? 

A: You aren’t alone. The Anti-Cruelty Society offers the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support anyone who is feeling anxious or overwhelmed about this situation. 

IMPACT ON THE ANTI-CRUELTY SOCIETY

Q: HOW WILL THE SOCIETY MANAGE THIS SITUATION?

A: The Anti-Cruelty Society is focused on how to best decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of the Coronavirus in the workplace in the event of an outbreak in the US. The Society will evaluate the situation and develop policies and procedures ensure communications regarding the following:

The Society will monitor absenteeism so that we are able to implement plans to continue our essential business functions

  • We will cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that we are able to care for the animals in the shelter, even if key staff are absent.
  • We will assess our essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on our services
  • We will change how we perform our work, if needed, to maintain critical operations 

As procedures are reviewed and refined, we will be stepping up our proactive efforts to include the following: daily disinfection and cleaning of public services such as elevator buttons, door handles, rest rooms, workstations, and countertops. Additional hand sanitizer stations will be set up and employee policies will be established to determine how to best manage care for the animals as well as needs of our employees and volunteers. Disposable wipes are recommended to disinfect commonly used surfaces before each use. We reserve the right to request people get their temperature taken if they present with flu-like symptoms. If the virus becomes a more widespread issue, we will ask any staff or volunteer entering the building will be required to have their temperature taken. Any person with a temperature over 100 degrees will be asked to return home for their own safety and the safety of the community. People will be required to be fever free for 24 hours prior to returning to work. 

Q: WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON THE WORK AT THE SOCIETY?

A: Our immediate concern is the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and animals. Depending on the severity of the virus in Chicago, we will repurpose and crosstrain staff to support animal care. We are working on procedures to provide those who are not currently working in animal care but may need to help care for animals until the situation is resolved. We are also focusing on employee expectations with regards to work attendance or possible work from home. 

In the event that there is a recommendation for social distancing during this crisis, we will implement the following:

  • Suspend all community outreach programs and external events
  • Limit onsite meetings to essential meetings only
  • Suspend transports from other areas
  • Suspend adoptions at the River North and PetSmart Adoption Centers 
  • Suspend community spay/neuter and clinic services 
  • Suspend owner surrenders although we will provide emergency rescue if we are able. We will not suspend emergency end of life services.

Q: WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS FOR EMPLOYEES DURING THIS CRISIS?

A: Once the determination has been made that the impact in Chicago requires enhanced safety and protection measures, employees will be required to do the following:

  • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). 
  • Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.

While managing this situation, the Society will:

  • Not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. 

Q: DO I USE SICK TIME IF I AM ILL? WHAT IF I RUN OUT OF SICK TIME? 

A: Employees must  use sick time if they have contracted the virus or in quarantine. If sick time benefits are exhausted, there will be additional time-off approved and it will not impact vacation or personal time. Any employee who has been diagnosed or suspects exposure to COVID-19 must inform HR following the usual sick time off procedures. 

Q: WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF THE ANIMALS?

A: The Society will continue to rely on staff and volunteers to care for the animals. Staff will be repurposed and cross trained to ensure this is our top priority. 

Q: IF SCHOOLS, DAYCARE, OR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AVAILABLE, WHAT IS THE POLICY FOR EMPLOYEES?  

A: If schools close, we are required under Cook County ordinance to permit employees to use paid sick time--which we encourage staff to do if they are unable to work from home. We will be finalizing policies and procedures for staff who are unable to get to the Shelter for their regular jobs or for staff who will be asked to assume other roles to assist with animal care if necessary. 

Q: HOW WILL THE SOCIETY MANAGE ITS BUSINESS IF WE HAVE TO IMPLEMENT THESE EXTREME MEASURES?

A: The Society has business interruption insurance which will help with some of the financial concerns. We also are very fortunate to have a number of very supportive donors and sponsors who will hopefully continue their support during this time. 

 

Q: WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS FOR VOLUNTEERS AND FOSTERS DURING THIS CRISIS?

A: The expectations for volunteers will be similar to those for staff. If volunteers are able to come assist with animal care, they will be welcome members of the team, with the same resources available to them. Additional cross-training might be done to ensure we have adequate coverage for the work needed. 

Fosters will play a critical role in animal management as it would be best for animals to be fostered in a home environment than in a shelter. The Society will provide resources and support for fosters as needed. 

Q: HOW WILL WE MANAGE THE CANCELLATION OF EVENTS AND PROGRAMS?

A: Paid events or programs will be rescheduled or an offer to refund the fee will be made available to each participant. Communications will be conducted through email and future promotions will be offered through the usual web and social media channels. For scheduled medical appointments, refunds will be issued but the pet owner will have to sign up once the need for cancellations have been lifted. Free events and programs will be postponed and rescheduled if possible.  

Q: HOW WILL WE KNOW IF IT IS SAFE TO RETURN TO OUR NORMAL OPERATIONS?

A: The Anti-Cruelty Society will rely on governmental entities to determine when the virus threat has diminished. Decisions will be based on feedback and research from world health organizations and the CDC. 

We are committed to ongoing and transparent communications. By working together across the organization, we will continue to work to ensure we provide a safe environment for our staff, volunteers, and animals. There will be frequent updates through email, on the Intranet as well as the private volunteer and foster Facebook pages. Please direct any questions to your supervisor. 

ACCORDIAN: March 10: Coronavirus General Information

Coronaviruses are spread mainly through close contact (within about six feet, according to the CDC, for a prolonged period), when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and another person comes into contact with the infectious droplets — which is how the flu and many other pathogens spread. Some evidence suggests that the new coronavirus may spread via fecal matter, so wash your hands after using the restroom. In some environments, coronaviruses can survive on surfaces, so regular sanitation of shared surfaces is important.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus, because there is currently no vaccine. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of all respiratory viruses.

Preventive actions that you can take include:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; disinfectants with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or 62-71% ethanol significantly reduce coronavirus infectivity.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.    

Our continued focus is to protect the wellbeing of our animals, staff, volunteers, and visitors. In light of continued spread of the virus in Chicago, and beyond, we are now taking the following measures:

  • Disinfection and cleaning protocols: The maintenance team has increased the rate and intensity of disinfection. Disinfection stations, which include wipes and hand sanitizer, have also been placed throughout the building. We are urging staff to assist maintenance in disinfecting frequently touched surfaces throughout the day. This includes, but is not limited to, door knobs, handles, elevator buttons, and tables.
  • Building signage: Laminated signs have been placed throughout the building to encourage people to wash their hands, limit interpersonal contact, and stay home when sick.
  • New Emergency Relief Foster Program: Another way we are responding to the spread of the virus is through the expansion of our foster program. The Emergency Relief Foster Program is a new effort that will train up on-call fosters to house animals in times of crisis. Work is already underway to recruit caretakers to foster cats, dogs, and rabbits who are currently available for adoption, and by doing so, clear out shelter space for pets who may need emergency boarding due to owner hospitalization.
  • Companion Animals. For now, there is no evidence that companion animals can transmit or become sick due to this Coronavirus. Still, it is a good idea to wash your hands after contact with pets.

We will continue to evaluate the spread of the virus and its impact on the work of the Society. We will continue developing procedures so that we can take proactive measures to help us keep our staff, volunteers, visitors, and animals healthy.