DANVILLE — Animal lovers might not be able to enter a shelter at this time — at least not without an appointment — but there still are ways to help the cats and dogs.
The four shelters in Vermilion County are closed to the public during the coronavirus outbreak. However, volunteers continue to work behind the scenes.
“No matter what, we’re taking care of the animals,” said Alyssa Julian, kennel manager of the Humane Society of Danville.
At all shelters, adoption applications are being taken online and donations of money and supplies still are being accepted. In special cases, arrangements can be made to complete an adoption.
“This is a good time for a lot of people to have the comfort of a pet,” said Connie Farrar, founder of Citizens for Animal Rescue and Adoption (CARA) in Tilton.
Julian agreed this is a good time to adopt because people are at home. They have more time to acclimate pets to their households and to train them.
On the other hand, this may not be a good time for people who have financial concerns. Those who are laid off may worry about providing food and medical care.
Representatives of the shelters said they have enough food for the animals, but can always use donations of supplies, such as cleaning items, and donations of money for veterinary bills.
Also, all shelters rely on volunteers, but they’ve had to cut back on the number of people who can be inside the building.
“We’re there feeding the animals,” Farrar said. “If no one answers the phone, it’s because we’re working with a smaller crew of people.”
Check the Facebook pages and websites of each shelter for ways to volunteer or help.
The Vermilion County Animal Shelter is closed to the public, but the animal control staff will continue to respond to rabies calls, emergencies only and calls for strays.
Lynn Porter, office clerk, said people may submit applications online to get pre-approved to adopt a pet.
“Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer until we’re open,” she said.
If an application has already been approved, the staff will find a way to get the animal to its new owners.
Also, people may bring donations to the shelter during its normal hours and leave them outside the door. Money for medical bills is needed, as well, and checks should be made out to the Vermilion County Animal Shelter Foundation.
Hoopeston Animal Rescue Team at 901 W. Main St. is closed for viewing pets. People may check out adoptable animals on the website or Facebook, and fill out an application.
Sherry Klemme, who does animal control for the city, as well as running the shelter, said she’s still responding to emergencies and picking up strays. If a person needs to relinquish a pet or finds a stray, Klemme will go to that person’s location.
“We’re still getting animals off the streets,” she said.
The shelter has enough food for the animals, but could use donations for veterinary care. A recent fundraiser brought in about $1,300, but the shelter’s monthly veterinary bills are around $2,500 a month.
Klemme is worried about the upcoming kitten and puppy season, when the overpopulation problem will stretch its resources.
The shelter operates on volunteer help, but Klemme has had to stagger the number of volunteers or ask the older helpers to stay home at this point.
Farrar said a vaccination clinic is set for the second week in April; however, she doesn’t know at this point whether that will happen.
The shelter on Catlin-Tilton Road is operating with fewer volunteers right now, and actually could use more volunteers throughout the year.
The no-kill shelter also could use donations of food, cat litter, paper towels, laundry soap and cleaning items, which are used on a daily basis. People may order items through Amazon, which will deliver them to the shelter. Or, people may leave the items on a table outside the main door.
“We would appreciate anything,” she said. Money is needed for medical care.
For people who want to adopt, they can fill out applications online. The staff also will arrange to meet with potential owners, one at a time, who make an appointment.
In Danville, the shelter’s thrift shop is closed, as well as the kennel.
That’s a hardship for the Humane Society, Julian said, as much of its income stems from sales at the thrift shop. “That’s where we’re hurting,” she said.
Also, the shelter has had to cancel one fundraiser.
If people want to adopt, they should fill out an application online for pre-approval. Then, the shelter will email or call the potential owner to set up an appointment. This procedure applies to both cats and dogs.
For monetary donations, people may mail checks to the shelter or donate online through Facebook or website.