Front Street Animal Shelter advises pet preparedness for July 4 holiday, updates services during COVID-19 pandemicdog

The weeks surrounding the Fourth of July are some of the busiest for shelters nationwide as many pets attempt to escape the frightening sounds of both legal and illegal fireworks. With firework stands popping up throughout Sacramento, the Front Street Animal Shelter is encouraging owners to take preventative actions to ensure their pets stay at home where they belong.
Owners should:
•    Never leave pets alone in yards, even if tethered. When pets are desperate and afraid, their behavior can change drastically, often causing them to escape over or under fences.
•    Keep pets on leashes at all times if not in a fenced yard, even if it’s just for a quick bathroom break.
•    Keep a collar with ID tag on pets at all times, and if possible, get pets microchipped.
•    Leave pets in a quiet, dark room with soothing music to drown out the fireworks.

Front Street has partnered with TNT Fireworks to give free microchip coupons to everyone who purchases fireworks at Sacramento-area stands. On July 4, additional Animal Services Officers will be on duty to respond to pet-related emergencies, and staff will be available to assist citizens who find stray pets.

“The Fourth of July is always a challenging time for our shelter, but this year presents a unique challenge with the changes to our operations due to COVID-19,” says Phillip Zimmerman, manager of the Front Street Animal Shelter. “Fortunately, we’ve developed new, innovative procedures to continue providing outstanding care to both our animals and community.”

Following the onset of the pandemic, Front Street, along with shelters throughout the region and nation, modified operations to both protect the community and optimize lifesaving of pets in need. This has included closing its public counters and shifting to a community-based sheltering model for healthy strays so limited staff and resources could be focused on sick and injured animals, un-weaned puppies, and kittens without mothers. Non-emergency surgeries, such as spay and neuter surgeries, were reduced nationwide and locally to conserve medical supplies for essential human health workers.

Front Street is gradually resuming many of its services in accordance with the recently amended Sacramento County Public Health order. Starting July 1, the shelter’s Pet Pantry, which provides free dog and cat food to those struggling to feed their pets, will be open every Wednesday from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. Face masks and social distancing are required.

The shelter is accepting sick, injured, aggressive, and orphaned dogs, cats, kittens and puppies. Front Street Staff will be available to offer resources to help the finders get pets back home.  Meanwhile, Front Street continues to explore the community-based sheltering model. As part of this program, foster families in Front Street’s network of volunteers temporarily house stray animals. The shelter provides resources to help locate a lost pet’s owners as well as resources to help an animal get adopted if needed. This new model reduces the spread of illness such as kennel cough, and is much less stressful for animals, who often experience high levels of anxiety and behavioral problems in a shelter environment. This model is being implemented by shelters nationwide with great success. Since March 18, more than 292 dogs/puppies and 460 cats/kittens have been placed into foster care.

In many cases, foster families either adopt their animals or find homes for them through their personal network and social media. For animals who still need help finding a home, the shelter has resumed appointment-only adoptions. Interested adopters can view animals at FrontStreetShelter.org, click an animal’s picture, and follow instructions to be considered for that pet. Following the closing of public counters for walk-ins due to the pandemic, 398 animals have been safely adopted using these modified procedures.


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