Shelters adapt to virus and begin to reopen to the public | Iowa News
“Just the strangers were really great,” said Anna Henderson, Story County animal control director. “It’s a 24/7 job, so we were really concerned about what it was going to look like.”
Henderson’s six-person staff split into two groups of three who alternated shifts at the shelter. Ames was even thinner last fall, when four of its seven-person staff, which includes all of the city’s animal control officers, tested positive for COVID-19.
One of the biggest unknowns was how busy the shelters would be, Henderson said.
“At first we weren’t sure what to buy for the animals,” Henderson said. “If it was this massive animal release or if people were getting sick, then we had to hang on to their animals.”
Ames and Story County have ended up seeing fewer animals entering their shelters and adoptions increasing, following national trends.
Although the past year saw many successful placements, when the US lockdown began, adoptions came to a complete halt, Henderson said. But soon after, Ames and Story County began bringing in nominees by appointment.
Edwards and Henderson quickly noticed the advantages of this method.
“It just gives us a better chance to connect with the adopter, really find out what they’re looking for, and then make a better match,” said Henderson.