Humane Society and SPCA: Do Not Abandon Pets Over Coronavirus Infection Fears

By Etan Vlessing 3/18/20 |

Cassie after knee surgery — photo by Linda Mitchell
The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society has sought to reassure pet owners to not surrender or abandon their pets as there's no scientific evidence cats and dogs and other companion animals can be infected with the coronavirus, or transmit the new virus strain.

"There is absolutely no need to surrender or abandon your pets for fear of viral transmission," the charity said.

The advice follows the Humane Society temporarily closing down to the public to comply with local health concerns over the new coronavirus.

Those requiring urgent care for animals in Ontario can call 310-SPCA (no area code needed) to arrange an appointment at SPCA locations.

The Humane Society responded to reports pets were being abandoned by their owners since the coronavirus outbreak for fear of transmission. That has left companion animals having to fend for themselves outdoors, and even gone without sufficient food and water.

The World Health Organization on its Mythbusters page also echoed that no scientific evidence points to companion animals like cats and dogs ever being liable to coronavirus infection, and then passing on that infection to humans.

The Humane Society is remaining open through the coronavirus pandemic to care for needy cats, dogs and other pets in its animal adoption and care centers.

"As a result of today's announcement from the Government of Canada, Ontario SPCA animal centres, provincial office and clinics will be closed to the public until further notice," the Humane Society said in a March 16 statement.

That means the Humane Society's volunteer program has been suspended until further notice, and the charity will not be accepting animas surrendered by their owners, public strays, or conducting adoptions through shelters.  

"The health, safety and well-being of our visitors, staff, volunteers and animals remains our first priority. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep you updated. We appreciate your support during this uncertain time," the charity added in a statement.

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