Memphis Animal Services adjust to ‘new normal’ amid ongoing coronavirus pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Animal Services has had to find new ways to make a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just like many other businesses, Memphis Animal Services was not immune to the impacts of the pandemic. They had to come up with new and creative ways to run their shelter during these uncertain times. If you go there, you will hear familiar sounds, such as dogs barking, but Katie Pemberton, said due to guidelines from the national animal control association, they are only taking in a very specific group of animals.

“Obviously pets that are a threat to public safety, (and) pets that are in need of immediate medical care, they’re coming here,” Pemberton, the Community Engagement Specialist at Memphis Animal Services said.

In addition to taking in fewer animals, Pemberton said visits are by appointment only and staff is now working in two separate teams to avoid potential virus transmission. She said they had arranged their employee schedule and our management schedule. Also, they had to limit the number of guests through their building to practice social distancing.

Though some of the operations changed at Memphis Animal Services, Pemberton said they are still finding ways to impact the Mid-South positively. They have given out more than 27-thousand pounds of dog food to more than 500 at-need families. Also, she said they are continuing to build a foster program. The latest program is called “home school for dogs” which allows families to take home a dog for a week. Pemberton said it is good for both pets and their prospective owners.

“We can see how they are with different types of people, with dogs, what their personality is really like,” Pemberton said. “We get great photos of them. We get great bios of them, and all of that helps them get adopted.”

Memphis Animal Services holds a proud record Pemberton said. She said they have not had to euthanize any puppies, small dogs, or cats, over the last three years. Also, she said they have very low euthanize numbers for bigger dogs, during that timeframe. She said even though they are taking in animals that are in emergencies only, they still have not had to euthanize any of them due to space.

Pemberton said people can help the shelter by becoming a foster parent to one of the animals or by simply adopting one. Additionally, she said making a financial contribution can go a long way.

“Donate! We can use donations of funds, that go to the programs like helping keeping pets with their family, or donated items,” Pemberton said.

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