After a three-week shutdown, the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society is once again open to adopting its furry clientele — that is by appointment only.
The humane society announced changes in operations on April 9.
“We don’t want these animals to have to remain in the shelter for any longer than necessary,” said Brad Evans, shelter manager at the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS).
“The dogs and cats we take in need to be part of someone’s family, not shelter wards. We reopened adoptions again so the animals do not have to linger here during the pandemic. OPHS should always be looked at as temporary shelter to move dogs and cats into their forever homes as quickly as possible.”
Luanne Hinkle, Executive Director at the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS), said the organization typically has a steady stream of visitors coming into the shelter, which necessitated a full closure in March.
“We have been very proactive in taking all the necessary precautions revolving around COVID-19, including closing to the public early on,” she said.
“Like human healthcare workers, our direct animal care staff members are essential. And because some were quarantined due to potential exposure to an ill family member or (who) had mild flu-like symptoms themselves, the rest of our dedicated staff has been pulling double duty.”
Those interested in adoptions are required to submit an application for a specific animal found on the organization’s Petfinder listings; applications are then reviewed by staff for appropriate fits.
Hinkle said OPHS has a number of procedures to assure the pet adoption process is safe, from special isolation rooms exclusively for adopter/animal meet and greets, rooms are sterilized after each visitation, and paperwork is processed prior to appointments online.
Additionally, she noted, the humane society enforces strict socialization practices of masks-wearing for both staff and adopters.
“We are always careful to match each animal with the perfect home situation for both animal and human,” Evans said. “And, during these difficult isolation times, adopting an animal is a great way to bring comfort and joy into your life. With everyone home, this also allows an animal to acclimate to new surroundings nicely with constant companionship.”
The organization has received an “overwhelming” number of foster applications during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We have placed quite a few animals into foster homes, and we are now pivoting to adoptions again,” the organization noted on its Facebook page.
See www.ophumane society.org/adoption- information for dogs and cats available for adoption.
OPHS’s major annual fundraiser, “Meowgaritas and Mutts,” was scheulded to take place later this month (April 25), but it’s been postponed to Oct. 17, staff said.
Without the expected revenue — the event typically brings in about $200,000 each year, Hinkle said — staff are applying for a number of COVID-19-related grants from various private and sources.
“Any good non-profit has to place some of their acquired funds in a reserved account to be able to weather an unexpected storm such as this,” Hinkle said. “This is how we are able to keep our very valued staff on the payroll at the moment.
“We really don’t know what will happen in the future. We hope we don’t have to wait too much longer for the funds to flow again so we can avoid difficult decisions.”
To help OPHS with needed funding, visit www.op humanesociety.org/donate.
For more than 70 years, the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society has maintained an active presence in the communities of Sequim, Port Angeles and surrounding areas. The society shelters and cares for domestic animals of all types regardless of breed, health or disposition, and sees more than 1,500 animals pass through its doors each year.
For more information, call 360-457-8206 or visit www.ophumanesociety.org.