Metro Animal Shelter, Justin Pehrson, K2 Radio

In the past month, families have given 27 cats and dogs to Casper's Metro Animal Services and those animals joined the 117 already at the shelter and 158 animals brought in as strays, the agency's director said Tuesday.

"It's a huge influx of pets," Metro director Tory Walsh told K2 Radio News on Tuesday.

"It taxes our resources and poses many challenges for our staff," Walsh added.

She's not sure why, but has two ideas from what she and the Metro staff have heard.

The first is that owners may have become jobless and cannot afford to care for a pet, she said.

The other has to do with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Walsh said.

Her staff receives calls daily from people asking if they can get the virus from their pets, she said.

In short, they can't.

Metro urges those who think animals could be infected with COVID-19 should read the information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including these key points:

  • "Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses." Some affect people and some affect animals.
  • The CDC does not know the exact source of COVID-19. The first human infections were linked to a live animal market, and now the virus is spreading from human to human.
  • The CDC does not have evidence that pets can spread COVID-19.
  • The CDC does not have evidence to suggest imported animals or imported animal projects pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States.

Besides the concern over whether pets can infect people with COVID-19, Metro Animal Services, 2392 E. Metro Road, now allows public access only by appointment

Those missing animals or are ready to adopt an animal, should call Metro at (307) 235- 8398 and schedule a time.

Walsh said several people have or were about to adopt a pet early this week, and reminds prospective owners they are making a long-term commitment by adopting.

Besides the limited access to the shelter, all volunteer services have been suspended, she said. "We appreciate all the public support we receive and will resume regular operations as soon as possible."

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