Facing an increase in the amount of intake of animals from the public, the Palm Valley Animal Society announced they have waived all adoption fees until further notice.
“We are seeing an increased intake from the public due to COVID-19 concerns and people losing their jobs,” Mike Bricker, PVAS director of operations said. “Because of that, people are surrendering their pets to us.”
PVAS, a non-profit no kill animal shelter that services the entire county, has nearly 550 dogs and 50 cats combined in its two Edinburg locations.
“Our number one goal is getting all our animals out to homes. There’s plenty of shelters nationally that have zero dogs and cats in their facilities because so many people are coming out to adopt and foster now that they have the time for it and that’s what we want, empty kennels,” Bricker said.
Adoption fees vary from $25 to $150 and includes microchipping, deworming, spaying and neutering, vaccinations and more.
“It’s a service that normally would be worth hundreds of dollars that we’re providing for free,” Bricker said. “We’re taking away any barriers that may be preventing people from wanting to grab a pet. Some people may have trouble coming to us so we are offering deliveries, and we screen people over the phone, interview them and let them meet the animal via Facetime and we can either deliver them to your house or you can receive them through curbside pickup.”
The curbside adoption is part of the changes that have been made at PVAS in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other changes include allowing only one family at a time at its facilities, splitting the staff into two teams to not risk losing all staff members if one gets sick, and practicing social distancing.
Despite the world being crippled by a pandemic, Bricker said now is a good time to make a furry best friend.
“It’s proven that having a pet helps destress,” Bricker explained. “Outside the home it feels like there’s not much we can do to make things better but with an animal at home to be with and hang out with it can be amazing. It keeps you active which we need with everyone at home sitting down all the time. Having a dog can get you out of the house for walks, it’s so beneficial.”
If you’re not ready for a commitment of having a dog or cat full time, Bricker said PVAS also offers the option of temporarily fostering an animal at home. According to Bricker 200 dogs and cats from the animal shelter are currently being fostered.
“We’re seeing an increase in animals being fostered actually,” Bricker said “It can decrease an animal’s stress if they’re anxious about being in the shelter, decreases their chance of getting sick there and it gives us more information on how the animal reacts to a home setting so we know who they can be best matched with.”
Those interested in fostering an animal can go to pvactx.org/foster to register.
So far the community has been helping the shelter clear out its kennels as the month of March saw a total of 600 adoptions, Bricker said. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted PVAS’ finances.
“Normally at this time we’d be at outdoor events collecting donations to help our facilities run but we can’t do that anymore,” Bricker said. “Fundraising has really gone down so we need the public’s help in that regard. As a nonprofit we rely heavily on donations to do what we’re doing and save the lives we’ve been able to save.”
Those interested in helping can go to pvastx.org and then click on the “donate” option on the home screen.