Shelter closes, vet offices still operating

The Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter announced earlier this week that it will be closed to the public and volunteers. Plans are in the works for videos of adoptable pets to be posted online for people to view.

The Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter and local vet clinics are implementing operational changes to help individuals and animals stay safe during the COVID-19 situation.

“As of [Friday], we are working on a system to publish videos online of our adoptable animals. The public could then view the videos and learn about the animals we have. After scheduling an appointment via email, the public can come meet the animals they have selected and then decide if adoption if the best choice,” WPCAS Animal Services Operations Manager Eric Shumar said. “The shelter is not accepting owner surrenders unless approved by calling the shelter before arrival. Animal Control Officers are on emergency protocols for all situations. The public is advised to call ahead before trying to arrive at the shelter.”

On Thursday, the shelter was officially closed to the public, including volunteers, Shumar said.

“We hope to eventually allow scheduled volunteers back at the shelter in the near future. Volunteers will be crucial in helping us get animals adopted during this time,” Shumar said. “Please work with us and understand our situation. We are making sure the community is safe and protected during this time. If you think your animal is at the shelter, you need to look at our dashboard website. Then call and speak with someone at the shelter before arriving at the shelter in person.”

Shumar wants to assure the public that all the animals at the shelter are being cared for just like they always have been.

“There is no reduction in the service level we are providing to these animals,” Shumar said. “None of the adoptable animals in our care are at risk of euthanasia either. We truly care about the well being of our animals and our plans for them remain the same as always — to care for them in the best possible way we are able to do so.”

For more information visit the WPCAS’ Facebook page or weatherfordtx.gov/15/animal-shelter.

Vet clinics still providing services

Local veterinary clinics are making some operational changes as well, but will still be providing health services for pets.

I-20 Animal Hospital will remain open 24/7, but asks that everyone understands protocols and procedures to reduce human-to-human contact exposure for everyone's well-being. 

"Since veterinarians are considered essential businesses, I-20 Animal Hospital will stay open and assures it has availability for both pets and the public health support," I-20 Animal Hospital Owner Dr. Randy Langerhans said. "Like many others, we have had to institute several new protocols to ensure that patients have access to the medical care they need while also doing our best to protect staff, the clients and community from COVID-19. This includes minimizing close human contact and temporarily discontinuing or postponing many elective procedures. This will ensure we have enough supplies to continue taking care of our patients. We also will be working with local medical facilities in the event they need some of our supplies or equipment."

For more information, contact I-20 Animal Hospital by calling 817-341-3331.

Grote Vet Clinic announced Wednesday that their office will be open for business during their regular hours.

“The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Directors has released a statement encouraging us to utilize telemedicine in cases that the veterinarian deems appropriate. This would be a 20-minute video chat with our doctor(s) regarding your concerns about your pet, and if need be we can place medications outside of our doors to help with social distancing. This is available on a case by case basis, and you must have a Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship to be eligible,” according to a Facebook post by the clinic. “At this time, if you do not wish to come into the hospital we are still offering to come and get your pet from the car and perform their services while you wait in the car, and the doctor will call you to communicate their recommendations.”

According to the post, those interested in telemedicine from Grote Vet Clinic can call 817-594-0216 to check on eligibility.

As of this week, Foland Veterinary Services, PLLC, is still open for business, but may have limited appointment times while staff monitors the COVID-19 situation.

“We are requesting that if you or anyone in your household is feeling ill, that you please get in touch with our office about options of rescheduling your pet’s appointment. We are aware that the best approach is to try to minimize the risk of exposure as much as possible,” according to a Facebook post by Foland Veterinary Services. “We are also practicing social distancing in the lobby, and exam rooms. This means there will be no hand shaking, and owners will be asked to keep a distance during exams as recommended by the CDC. We are going to be scheduling our routine wellness visits three weeks out. We may be reducing our staff for their own protection so appointment times might be limited. 

“Also, just a reminder — there is no current evidence that you can get coronavirus (COVID-19) from your sick dogs or cats. If you are feeling ill, reduce exposure to your pet, contact with pet and other family members. People may be exposed via physical contact with pets’ fur.”

Other local veterinarians are keeping the public updated through their social media accounts and are asking clients to call their clinics for service information.

VCA Aledo Animal Hospital has implemented new admittance and check-out procedures.

“Veterinary care is an essential part of our community and we want to assure you that our hospital is open and will continue to provide services at this time,” according to the hospital. “We also want to work with you and our staff to limit direct contact in order to focus on safety for everyone during this pandemic.”

New procedures by VCA Aledo Animal Hospital include remaining in your vehicle and calling the hospital upon arrival and having someone else transport your pet to the hospital if you’re feeling ill. The hospital is also providing text messaging, live chat and home delivery services. For more information visit vcahospitals.com.

AVMA: Limit exposure to pets if sick

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, although there have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with the coronavirus limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, the AVMA recommends you take the same common-sense approach when interacting with your pets or other animals in your home, including service animals. You should tell your physician and public health official that you have a pet or other animal in your home,” according to the AVMA. “So, if you are ill with COVID-19, have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet or service animal.”

The AVMA also advises against sharing dishes, eating utensils or bedding with pets.

For more information visit avma.org

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