Worries about the arrival of the COVID-19 coronavirus are not currently an issue for a Langley-based cat rescue agency, but that could change if the virus becomes widespread in B.C.
Clive Ellis, C.A.R.E.S. (Canadian Animal Rescue and Extended Shelter) fundraising committee chair, said if medical authorities warn against public gatherings to avoid human-to-human transmission, that would affect public open-house events like their adoptathon, which is currently underway in Langley.
“We would have to reconsider,” Ellis told the Langley Advance Times.
C.A.R.E.S. already requires hand-washing and other protocols that would prevent human-to-human spread of a virus, Ellis added.
As for reports that that a pet dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong tested “weak” positive for COVID-19 and was put in quarantine, Ellis said C.A.R.E.S. constantly monitors the health of cats in their care.
“If we see a runny nose, watery eyes, something in their stool, our meds committee is on it,” Ellis said.
According to an online statement issued by the World Organisation for Animal Health, there is currently “no evidence that pets or other domestic animals can be infected with COVID-19 virus, nor is there evidence that pets or other domestic animals might be a source of infection to people with COVID-19.”
It also advises regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose with the elbow when coughing and sneezing and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
On the first day of the C.A.R.E.S. adoptathon, Saturday, Feb. 29, turnout was actually up, with more than half the kennels emptied at the Petsmart store on the Langley Bypass, which hosts the event.
“We had lots of success,” C.A.R.E.S. adoption coordinator Marian Reid said.
“We’ll be bringing more kitties up.”
The event was to resume Sunday from 11 am. to 4 p.m.
C.A.R.E.S. was formed in 1993 with a mission to rescue, shelter, and find good homes for stray, abandoned, and unwanted cats.
Because C.A.R.E.S. is a no-kill shelter, felines stay there for as long as it takes to find a permanent home.
Some cats have been at the shelter for more than a decade.
More photos from the event can be viewed online.