In 2020, a record number of residents in the New York City area fostered and adopted dogs from area animal shelters when those who could work from home found themselves facing isolation that could be mitigated with a canine companion. However, as the pandemic drags on, organizations fear the long-term impacts of resources for animals. Some instances addressing these concerns include drive-thru pet food pantries, curb-side veterinary services, and other measures. This presentation will provide an overview of preliminary data and content analyses regarding three main themes: 1) an examination of challenges in delivering community preventative care to cats and dogs during COVID-19, especially spay and neuter by volunteers and small nongovernmental organizations, 2) an examination of changes in adoption, fostering, and animal surrender associated with COVID-19 deaths, unemployment, and other spill-over effects from the pandemic, and 3) small clinic and nonprofit challenges in operational and staffing protocols during the pandemic. Data for this presentation will come from two sources: content analyses of news articles from 2020 about animal adoption, fostering and related operations; and primary survey data gathered from respondents working in small nonprofits or other community-based animal rescue organizations.
Ashley K. Farmer is an assistant professor in Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University. Her research focuses on police-community relations, technology in policing, evacuation and sheltering with pets during disasters, and criminology and disasters.