Everett Animal Shelter volunteer Sheridan Hedman works with Leah, a german shepherd, on the “sit” command during walk time on Saturday in Everett. Leah is one of the adoptable dogs at the shelter but they are hoping to get her into a program to work for the Washington State Patrol. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett Animal Shelter volunteer Sheridan Hedman works with Leah, a german shepherd, on the “sit” command during walk time on Saturday in Everett. Leah is one of the adoptable dogs at the shelter but they are hoping to get her into a program to work for the Washington State Patrol. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Animal shelters limit adoptions, intake of stray animals

Donations also are down, making it hard for some shelters to pay the bills and keep employees.

EVERETT — Like many local businesses, pet shelters around Snohomish County are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Several animal shelters, including the Everett Animal Shelter and PAWS in Lynnwood, are restricting visitors to ensure social distancing. The Everett Animal Shelter is limiting adoptions to a “case-by-case” basis and PAWS adoptions are by appointment only.

The Everett Animal Shelter also is limiting its intake of stray animals because of the pandemic and is not accepting owner-surrendered pets. All pet licensing can be done online.

The Everett Animal Shelter had six dogs and nine cats listed for adoption as of Monday afternoon. PAWS had five dogs and three cats listed at its Lynnwood facility.

The pandemic also is having an economic impact on pet shelters.

In addition to adoptions being slowed to ensure social distancing, donations are down significantly, said Kathleen Olson, executive director of Purrfect Pals, a non-profit, non-kill cat sanctuary in Arlington.

“It’s impacting our revenue big time, and yet we still have the same fixed expenses just like any other business — the mortgage, the utilities, the payroll,” Olson said.

She said in order to pay the bills, two workers are being furloughed and several others are having their hours cut.

Purrfect Pals has a lower number of cats on-site than usual — about 80, Olson said — to ensure the trim-downed staff can care for the animals properly.

Purrfect Pals’ four off-site adoption locations, run by volunteers in Kirkland, Issaquah, Renton and Everett, have closed. All the cats at those locations were either adopted or fostered out, Olson said.

Olson said April usually sees a significant influx of animals coming into the shelter because cats tend to breed in the warmer weather. The ultimate worry is that the numbers of cats without homes will grow exponentially because spaying and neutering have been deemed non-essential procedures, Olson said.

“On a national level, we’re worried this would set us back 20 years because we’ve been doing aggressive spay and neuter (procedures) for so long,” Olson said. “We’re worried it will get back to the point where there were too many animals and not enough people to adopt them.”

Josh Horton: 425-339-3470; jhorton@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JoshHortonEDH.

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