Fairbanks Animal Shelter to allow some in-person visits to the facility

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 3:40 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter has begun lifting some COVID-19 restrictions.

According to Kimberly Imbert, Operations Supervisor for the FNSB Animal Shelter, the shelter previously had several COVID-19 restrictions in place for the safety of both the public and staff. “Last year when COVID and all the policies came out, we had to make a lot of changes just to adhere to social distancing and to keep the public and ourselves safe. So we closed our kennels, we went to appointment only, and we even closed our lobby. We moved to viewing the animals virtually and then we went for a visit. You couldn’t actually interact with an animal but you could view an animal tender interacting with an animal and see how the animal reacts to someone they’re familiar with.”

While restrictions are being lifted, the shelter noticed that a few of the restrictions actually increased operation efficiency and has decided to keep them.

Imbert explained, “So what we noticed during COVID was that the animals were a lot less stressed without the traffic of different people coming through and looking at them and walking through the kennels. How people interacted with the animals differently... sometimes it could stress the animals out - and depending on the animal’s personality, a lot of them are just really unsure of themselves anyways and seeing a lot of different strangers can really add to their stress. Along with that, we are really trying to move to ‘Fear Free’ which is a way of interacting with animals so that the animals are less stressed and the staff and the public are more safe. The goal of that is just to lower the stress of the animal. Along with that, our appointments for adoptions and redemptions has really made us really efficient, and so there’s not a lot of wait time for the public. So we are keeping our appointments just so we can be really efficient and help people the best we can.”

However, according to Imbert, the shelter will be allowing visitations and allowing residents into the lobby. “Our lobby and some of our kennel areas are open for viewing, we just have shorter hours for viewing and for the lobby to be open. So, people can come to our building and view some of our animals from 2 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.”

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