SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Two Santa Barbara pets are looking for new homes. Their owners gave their animals to animal control after being hospitalized with COVID-19.
Santa Barbara Police spokesman said about the pets, "[They're] two amazing and loving pets."
A side effect of the pandemic, a short-haired cat and chihuahua, are now being cared for at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. Their elderly owners were hospitalized with covid-19 and asked police to help find a new home for their pets.
"We are committed as a department to ensure that you don't have to worry about that. That shall be the least of your worries," said Wagner.
Wagner said an animal control specialist dressed in hazmat gear got the animals and brought them to a local shelter.
"They literally jumped into the arms of the supervisor and he was able to give them the human interaction that they were craving," said Wagner.
The pets will be quarantined for two weeks before they can be adopted. Shelter workers wear protective equipment for up to 24 hours when a new pet comes in, but they're being even more cautious when pets have been exposed to the coronavirus.
Becky Morrill is the ASAP shelter operations supervisor. She said, "If there is known COVID exposure we extend that period of time, until we feel very confident that there is no chance that that animal still might be harboring any COVID virus on it."
To keep pets safe during the pandemic, experts recommend keeping cats indoors, dogs should be walked on a leash, and kept at least 6 feet away from others during walks. It's also important for pet owners to prepare for emergencies including sudden hospitalizations.
Donald Stephens is the shelter supervisor at Santa Barbara County Animal Services. He recommends, "You want to make sure that your animals are set. And you have something for them. Like say for example if you were to be hospitalized that you have someone that can care for your animal."
In the case of this dog and cat police expect the pets will find a new forever home.
For more information about pet safety or adoptions visit Santa Barbara County Animal Services website.