COVID-19 Response

The Humane Society of Sarasota County is taking a “Humanely Possible” approach to the COVID-19 crisis. Our priorities are to continue to care for and find permanent homes for our shelter animals, to help our rescue partners and our community, and to keep providing lifesaving medical care to our clients. We know that we cannot do everything, but we are doing everything “Humanely Possible.” We have made it through the roughest patch (hopefully), and we're moving forward as safely as possible. We know this is a challenging time for the people and pets in our community. Thank you for your patience and support!
  • The shelter is open to the public for normal adoption hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm and Saturday 10am–4pm. 
  • We are still social distancing and maintaining rigorous sanitizing protocols. All visitors are encouraged to wear a face mask for the safety of our staff and volunteers.
  • View the real-time list of available cats and dogs.
  • We are intaking animals from other shelters, and we are accepting owner surrenders by appointment only. Apply here.
  • Clients are allowed inside the Animal Clinic as long as they wear a mask and sanitize/wash their hands.
  • We have expanded the items provided in our weekly pet pantry so that no pet goes hungry.
  • We have been overwhelmed (in a good way!) by foster applications. We have more applicants than we have animals in need of foster, but that can change quickly. Apply here.
  • Volunteers are allowed on campus now.
  • Our K-9 Courses have resumed. See all courses here.
  • Teen Program is having in-person sessions. Details here.
  • Scroll down to see a list of FAQs and other important program information.

FAQs and Status of HSSC Programs & Services

Click the gray bars to expand each section and learn more about how individual HSSC programs and services are impacted by COVID-19. If you have adiditonal questions, please call 941.955.4131 or see our Contact Page for the specific staff member to contact.

Is HSSC still operating?
  • Animal shelters are considered essential services. We never stopped operating, but we were closed to the public March 22–April 30.
  • HSSC is open to the public for normal adoption hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm and Saturday 10am–4pm. 
  • Our staff members are taking every precaution to maintain a safe social distance with potential adopters, fosters, and each other. We are adhering to rigorous cleaning and sanitizing protocols. All visitors are encouraged to wear a face mask to help protect our staff and volunteers.
Is the Animal Clinic still open?
  • The Animal Clinic of HSSC is open for normal hours: Monday–Friday 8am–5pm and Saturday 8am–12pm.
  • Walk-ins are not available at this time.
  • We are scheduling for all services, including wellness visits, diagnostics, puppy/kitten vaccines, and surgeries. Please call us to schedule your pet's appointment or procedure: 941.364.3605.
  • As of January 1, 2021 clients are allowed in the facility again. Only one client per pet will be able to accompany the pet to the exam room. Kids under 18 are an exception. Clients will check in at the front desk. Throughout the facility, there are clearly marked seating and standing areas to maintain safe social distancing between staff and other clients. Clients are required to wear a face mask and sanitize/wash their hands. Clients who do not wear a face mask and sanitize/wash their hands will be offered curbside service, meaning only their animal will be allowed inside and the owner will need to wait in their car. Clients who need a mask can make a $1 donation to receive a disposable one.
  • We are dispensing all medicines. Clients needing medications (not preventives) are encouraged to call in advance. Clients needing preventives can enter the lobby with a mask to get them, you do not need to call ahead.
  • Medications can also be purchased through our online pharmacy.
  • We have taken cues from other veterinary offices and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMA) on best practices for minimizing patient interaction and for keeping a sanitary facility. We are adhering to rigorous cleaning protocols.
  • Please call the Animal Clinic directly if you have questions: 941.364.3605.
How can I help?
  • Thank you for your willingness to help! The top things you can do are adoptdonate supplies, and share our social media content.
Can I still adopt?
  • Thank you for considering adoption!
  • The shelter is open for visitors during operating hours (Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm and Saturday 10am–4pm). 
  • All visitors are encouraged to wear a face mask.
  • Every animal that is available for adoption is displayed on our real-time adoptable cats and dogs pages. New animals are added daily, so please check back often.
What programs/services are open and what ones are canceled or suspended?
  • Adoptions, the Animal Clinic, the Volunteer Program, the Teen Program, and our Pet Pantry Program are operating.
  • K-9 Obedience Training Courses have resumed, as have Pet Therapy Training Courses.
  • Pet Therapy and Humane Education visits and all offsite events have resumed.
Do you still need fosters?
  • We were fortunate to receive an outpouring of foster applications recently, and we placed dozens of animals in foster homes. 
  • If you have already applied but have not been matched, we will continue to keep your name on our list. We have more applications than animals in need of foster right now, but that may change. Visit our foster page to apply. You can also note that you will be ready to willing to help after the pandemic.
Can I still volunteer?
  • Returning volunteers are permitted on campus now. However, there are limits to the number of volunteers allowed at once. Volunteers must sign up for two-hour shifts in advance using VolunteerHub. All volunteers must wear a face mask.
  • Returning volunteers must complete a reorientation session before they can sign up for shifts. This session will include a tour of the campus, as our facilities have changed drastically since March, and a presentation on the new policies, procedures, and roles. Mandy Ray will be providing instructions and dates for the reorientation sessions.
  • New volunteers who applied before the pandemic and have not completed orientation will receive instructions from Mandy Ray on when they can expect to begin their training.
Is the Pet Pantry Program still open on Wednesdays?
  • Yes, we decided to keep our food bank open at its usual time (Wednesdays from 10am–2pm) because we know that people are facing economic hardship at unprecedented levels. We do not want any pet to go hungry.
What's the status of K-9 Obedience Courses?
  • K-9 Obedience Training Courses have resumed, but course capacity has been reduced to keep participants safe.
  • See the full schedule of courses for the rest of 2021 here.
  • If you have questions, please contact Tracy Stoddard at 941.955.4131 x106.
What supplies do you need the most?
  • If you have extra pet food or cleaning supplies (see our Wish List), we are always grateful for donations. You can drop them off even if we're closed.
  • You can also shop from the comfort and safety of home using our Amazon Wish List.
  • We ask that people refrain from donating blankets and other large, fluffy items that cannot be sanitized immediately.
How can I make a monetary donation?
  • Thank you for your generosity during these tough economic times. It means so much to us!
  • The easiest (and most sanitary!) way to donate is via our secure online donation forms, like this one.
  • You can still make gifts in honor or memory of a person or pet, and you can set up recurring monthly gifts. If you have any questions about donating, please contact Autumn Steiner at 941.955.4131 x121.
How are you helping other animal organizations?
  • We are taking in animals from other shelters.
  • We are continuously evaluating the needs of our community partners and deciding when and how we can safely take more animals.
What do I do if I need to surrender my pet?
  • We are accepting owner surrenders again, but, as always, we only take them by appointment only and an appointment does not guarantee acceptance into HSSC.
  • If you have questions about surrendering your dog, please contact Lisa Merlet or Kate Rose at 941.955.4131 x124. If you have questions about surrendering your cat, please call Geoffrey Webber at 941.955.4131 x107, 
  • Our behaviorists are highly skilled at helping you determine the best course of action for your pet.
  • Fill out the surrender forms here.
What do I do if I find a stray?
  • HSSC is prohibited by a Sarasota County ordinance from intaking stray or unowned animals. This is not a COVID-19 prohibition; we are never permitted to accept strays.
  • If you have found a stray dog or cat, please contact Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services at 941.861.9500 or Manatee County Animal Services at 941.742.5933.
  • HSSC keeps a running list of lost and found animals that have been reported to us. You are welcome to add your lost/found animal’s information by calling 941.955.4131.
  • Social media is a tremendous resource. Lost and Found Pets 941 (Manatee & Sarasota) has a large membership and is a great forum for reporting lost/found pets.
Are you still accepting appointments for end of life services?
  • We are not accepting appointments at this time.
Can my pet get COVID-19?
  • Per the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMA): Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people.
  • If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
  • Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
2331 15th Street | Sarasota, FL 34237 | 941.955.4131 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
1090 North Tuttle Ave | Sarasota, FL 34237 | 941.364.3605 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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