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MT animal center shows how shelters have changed during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 7:49 PM, May 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-24 21:49:17-04

GREAT FALLS — When business closed to the public two months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maclean Cameron Animal Adoption Center in Great Falls let the dogs and cats out.

"We adopted out 23 cats and 7 dogs in the last day that we were allowed to be open," said Reid Vanworth. "Throughout the shelter in place we were able to find homes for all of our other animals."

Vanworth said they usually get a lot of cats during birthing season, but haven't seen any reports of kittens. Meaning people are probably stepping up in the community and taking are of those animals or finding an alternative for them.

While there's been a decrease in animal intakes, there's been an increase in animal interest.

"I think a major reason is people do have a lot of free time now since they're sheltered in place or furloughed from work so it's a great opportunity for them to spend time with the new animal and help them adjust to a new home and in the next few weeks the staff expects to see a lot more intakes," said Vanworth said.

They anticipate that the longer that people are without jobs they will end up surrendering the animals. They've been told by national animal organizations that they should see an increase in surrender just due to the lack of benign able to afford the animal.

For those in need of some assistance caring for their pet, adoption center now has a car and dog food pantry for pet ownership need. While surrendering your pet is never the first choice says there will be plenty of pet owners looking to give theirs a happy home.

If you're looking to adopt a furry friend the staff say the next few weeks are the time to do so.

Here in Missoula we have the Humane Society of Western Montana and other animal shelters across our region that could always use volunteers or donations.