Fairbanks animal shelter overcomes challenges, finding pets forever homes during the pandemic

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 4:16 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks North Star Borough animal shelter overcame and adapted during the course of the pandemic to ensure animals found new homes.

Due to social distancing policy, the shelter has had to come up with alternative methods for prospective new pet owners to meet their future furry friends.

“Due to social distancing, we’re accepting and handing off animals through our drop off cages so that we are respecting social distancing requirements, and when we are doing visits they are no-contact visits with the public, which has been a real challenge for everyone. So what happens in a no-contact visit is that a person can see an animal through a window, and they can ask questions to the animal tenders who take care of the animals, and they can see the animal tender interact with that animal - but they can’t actually meet with the animal before they decide whether or not to adopt,” said Kimberly Imbert, Animal Shelter Operations Supervisor with Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter.

The shelter has also moved to seeing guests only by appointment, as well as keeping the lobby off-limits due to its small size.

“We’ve also gone to appointment-only, and we’ve closed our shelter so that people aren’t walking through because we’re a really small shelter and there’s no way to keep people socially distanced in our facility. So appointment-only has been different, but it’s been really great in a lot of ways because we’re really efficient. People aren’t waiting, and I think it’s been beneficial both to the public and to our staff because everything’s done ahead of time and it’s really smooth,” said Imbert.

The shelter also has made masks mandatory and supplies clean masks and hand sanitizer for those visiting.

Public reception to the safety changes has been warm and the shelter continues to help animals find new homes. Imbert told us, “We were worried about that but the public’s been really great about it and we’ve actually had really good success with our adoptions.”

For more information visit the animal shelters website and their Facebook page.

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