Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry urges pet owners to not surrender animals amid COVID-19 outbreak

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WARRINGTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 04: A seven week old Daschund cross puppy waits to be re-homed at the Cheshire Dogs Home on January 4, 2010 in Warrington, England. The puppy is one of hundreds waiting for a new home at the Manchester and Cheshire Dogs Home and other animal shelters across Britain. There has been a huge surge in the number of abandoned pets over the Christmas and Winter period. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain urged pet owners to not abandon or surrender their animals to animal control agencies amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We understand these are uncertain times, but pet shelters are being overrun with people giving up their pets,” Strain said. “If you are ill with coronavirus, follow the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The department offered a list of pet-care tips crafted by the CDC:

  • It is not believed pets can be infected with COVID-19 nor is it believed they can spread the disease. However, pets may “temporarily harbor the virus” on the coat or other areas of the pet’s body.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, allow a family member to care for your pets. If no one is available, maintain a safe distance from your pet and frequently wash your hands before and after contact with your pet.
  • If you are hospitalized and family members cannot provide care, check with your local veterinary clinic, boarding facility or with a public animal shelter on availability for care.
  • Anyone who cares for a pet that has been in contact with an infected human, bathing the animal with a pet shampoo immediately should remove virus particles from the coat of the pet. Isolation from other animals is also recommended. Wear gloves, a face mask and immediately change your clothes after bathing the pet.

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