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Foster homes needed: Houston animal shelters full due to coronavirus concerns

Local animal shelters in the greater Houston area are seeing an increase of dogs and cats in need of homes because fewer people are visiting shelters.

HOUSTON — As COVID-19 spreads throughout the greater Houston area, local animal shelters are bracing themselves as they see increased intake, fewer adoptions and fewer foster homes, according to Best Friends Animal Society.

BARC, City of Baytown Animal Services & Adoption Center, Fort Bend Animal Services Center, Harris County Animal Shelter and Montgomery Animal Shelters need people to foster pets on a temporary, emergency basis.

For families who are homebound, this could be a great time to consider adding a pet.

“There is nothing better than working from home with a furry co-worker or sharing your staycation with a companion sure to be a source of entertainment and companionship. If you have thought of adopting or fostering now is the time to do it!” said Kerry McKeel, Houston Program Manager for Best Friends Animal Society.

RELATED: What pet owners should know about coronavirus

RELATED: Coronavirus updates: Abbott activates Texas Army National Guard to help with COVID-19

Animals are a great stress reliever for adults and children and can be a welcome distraction during these scary times.

“The companionship of pets has been shown to reduce stress and lower anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure when the news from the outside world is distressing,” McKeel said. 

If you can’t foster or adopt, consider donating to animals shelters or foster groups.

To adopt or temporary, emergency foster an animal in your community contact:

 BARC (City of Houston):

Email: barcfoster@houstontx.gov

Phone: (713) 837-0311

Website: http://www.houstontx.gov/barc

 Harris County Animal Shelter (Unincorporated Harris County):

Email:Foster@phs.hctx.net

Phone: (281) 999-3191

Harris County Animal Shelter is offering curbside pick-up for those offering to foster.

Website: www.CountyPets.com

Montgomery Animal Shelter:

Email: Foster.coordinator@mctx.org

Phone: (936) 442-7738

Website: https://www.mcaspets.org/

Fort Bend County Animal Services:

Phone: (281) 342-1512

Fort Bend County Animal Services is offering curbside pick-up to residents, as well as Dog Dash/Uber service to deliver fully vetted pets to adopters and fosters within the County.

Website: https://www.fbchhs.org/animal-services

 City of Baytown Animal Services & Adoption Center:

Email:animalcontrol@baytown.org

Phone: (281) 422-7600

Website: www.Baytown.org

Houston SPCA

Effective today, they ask that visitors and potential adopters call and make an appointment before visiting their campus through March 31.

We encourage our community to visit our website to view all of our adoptable pets before making an appointment at 713-869-7722. If a pet is posted on our website, that means they still need a loving home! Please note, equine and farm animals will continue to require an appointment.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.