Coronavirus: Saskatchewan animal shelters deemed an essential service, staying open

The Saskatoon SPCA will Rock the Shelter at the Odeon Event Centre Friday night.
The Saskatoon SPCA says it's important it stays open during the pandemic. File / Global News

There’s good news for animal lovers in Saskatchewan: the province has deemed animal shelters an essential service.

With this designation, it means shelters will be able to stay open, even if everything else is forced to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan NDP leader encouraging public to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19

It’s good news for the Saskatoon SPCA, which takes in around 4,000 lost, abandoned or abused animals a year.

“What we do is try to adopt those out when we can or return them to owners if they’re looking and we spay and neuter them,” said executive director Graham Dickson.

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“An instance where we had to shut our doors and we have 4,000 animals wandering the city in distress would be quite problematic.”

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READ MORE: Canadians stuck in South Africa because of COVID-19 wait for answers

Dickson says the Saskatoon SPCA has laid off half their staff because of the pandemic.

They say they’re preparing for spring right now, when they’re expecting lots of calls for stray animals and a boom in the city’s cat population.

Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 vaccine research continues at University of Saskatchewan
Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 vaccine research continues at University of Saskatchewan

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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