For You and Your Pet

(Updated April 30, 2020)

As you have probably seen in the news recently, two domestic cats in separate areas of New York and a dog in North Carolina have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Based on the sheer volume of COVID-19 cases in the United States, this news is not surprising nor is it cause for alarm. While it remains clear that more information is needed to fully understand this disease in both humans and animals, there is still no evidence that pets can transmit COVID-19 to people. 

Routine animal testing is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), nor the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). 

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19, however, should consider their pets exposed and possibly infected. 

Animal Welfare League continues to encourage the following: 

People ill with COVID-19: 

• Restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as they would restrict their contact with other people. 

• Have an emergency plan in place that includes arrangements for another member of the household or business to take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any pets. 

• If they have a service animal or they must care for their animals, including pets, to wear a cloth facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash their hands before and after any contact with them. 

People NOT ill: 

• Keep cats indoors and refrain from having pets interact with people outside of the household. 

• Utilize social distancing for both you and your pets when out on walks. 

• Interact with their animals as they normally would, including feeding and otherwise caring for them. 

• Continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with their animals, including handling of food, supplies, and waste; keep feed, water, and any supplies used to deliver them clean; remove soiled bedding and replace as appropriate). 

As always, it is critical that individuals have an emergency plan in place for pets ahead of time to ensure that their pet’s care, food, medication and other supplies are readily available should they need to enact the plan. 

3 Key Parts of Your Emergency Plan 

It is more important than ever to create a plan for your pet in case you get sick. 

1) Know the Facts 

According to the CDC, there is no evidence that people can get COVID-19 from pets. The best place for your animal is inside the home they know and love. If you aren’t feeling well but are still able to care for your pet, please keep them at home with you where they’re most comfortable. 

2) What to do if you get sick 

If you become too ill to care for your pet, who can take over for you? Ideally, that person already lives in your home. If not, identify a neighbor, family member, friend, or coworker who could take them in. In fact, it is best to identify two people (in case one ends up not being able to help). Speak with them now so they’re prepared if they’re called on to care for your beloved pet. 

3) Prepare a Pet Supply Kit 

Don’t wait! Prepare your pet supply kit today because you may need it tomorrow. Your kit should include: 

  • Name and contact information for the person who can care for your pets 
  • Name and contact information for your back-up in case your go-to is no longer able to help 
  • Food, treats, a leash, a couple of toys, and any other supplies necessary to care for your pet for at least two weeks 
  • A crate or carrier to transport your pet 
  • Vaccination records 
  • Collar with ID tags 
  • Make sure your pet’s microchip info is up to date, including emergency contact information 
  • Medications and prescriptions, along with instructions 
  • Detailed care instructions (your pet’s diet, walking routines and any important behavioral notes) 
  • Your vet’s contact information

Updates to Hours of Operation

With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the rise here in Florida and across the country, it is important for residents in our region to be vigilant and adhere to the CDC recommended guidelines. Animal Welfare League has some important updates to share with the community about their programs and services. 

As a precaution to the COVID-19 virus, to reduce exposure to and protect our community from the virus, the Animal Welfare League is being proactive and limiting non-essential services to the public.

Our adoption center is currently operating by appointment only. Please contact us at or call (941) 625-6720 to schedule a virtual meeting with the animal you choose. Virtual Adoptions are being offered Tuesday through Sunday.

OWNER SURRENDER + STRAY ANIMALS: To prevent overcrowding at the shelter, we are also urging people to, if at all possible, refrain from surrendering owned pets to the shelter, except if an animal is in distress or its safety is at risk. Animal Welfare League is also asking people in the community who find a stray dog or cat to consider holding onto the animal at least until the end of the month.