Caring for Animals During the Pandemic

Wiggy is at the Easton Animal Shelter, awaiting adoption by appointment only.

The Easton Animal Shelter has been home to animals looking for loving families to care for them for many years. Although COVID-19 has disrupted the opportunity to visit the animals and has changed the adoption process, there are still other ways for the community to help the animals during the pandemic through basic donations. 

Animal Control Officer Deborah Ice has been caring for the animals at the shelter during the ongoing pandemic. Ice has also continued to respond to the occasional problems associated with domestic animals and educating the public regarding wildlife.

“At the beginning of the pandemic most of the animals were adopted,” Ice said. “For people interested in adoption, please go to our Facebook page, EastonCT Animal Shelter. Our adoptions are appointment only.”

Ice has been working in the animal care industry for more than 15 years and is devoted to making sure the animals and the community of animal lovers have a “go-to” source to rely on at the shelter. She is committed to making the shelter as community-friendly as possible. 

“I love when people come in here because I get to talk to everyone and I can tell them what the shelter needs,” said Ice. “It’s beautiful here. The animals are well-loved and get better because of it.”

The shelter is home now to a few rescued pets, including three cats and three Chihuahuas.

“We have taken surrenders of guinea pigs, birds, ferrets and rabbits, in addition to dogs and cats,” she said. Animal control officers in the area work together to make sure no animal is left behind and that they all have somewhere to go, according to Ice.  “We all work together.”

Ice is determined to help animals find loving homes. People can call if they’re interested in a certain kind of animal, and Ice keeps a list in case something comes in. ‘I try to work with everyone here because Easton residents love animals.”

As a specialist in the animal industry, Ice makes it her duty to keep the community informed and safe while living in a rural town with a significant wild animal population. She advises residents against having bird feeders in their yards. “The most important thing is no bird feeders,” she said. “This is critical because it brings bears, bobcats and coyotes.”

There have been several bear and coyote sightings this season, which is normal, but she hasn’t had to contend with many wild animal incidents. To continue this trend, Ice also urges people to keep their pet food inside at night to avoid attracting wildlife.

“Even with the many sightings of coyotes there hasn’t been a coyote attack in the 15 years since I’ve been here,” Ice said. It’s been two-and-a-half years since Easton has confirmed a positive rabies test on any animal.

Donations Sought

As the pandemic continues, donations from the community are needed to help to ensure that the shelter can continue to provide quality care for the animals. “I really need dog food, wet cat food, and scoopable litter, but we also always need cleaning supplies and paper towels,” said Ice. “If I post something on the Facebook page about what I need, sometimes people will send it by Amazon Prime. That’s how nice these people are.”

The Easton Animal Shelter is always ready to accept items people can bring in to help the animals. “It will always be put to use,” Ice said. “It never goes to waste. Whatever they want to bring, like old bird cages or small animal cages, I will take them.”

While the animals in the shelter await adoption into a new home, Ice continues to do her best to keep them comfortable and in good spirits. She urges any pet owners who might be ill or need assistance caring for their animals during the pandemic to reach out to her.

Ice wants the people in the community to know that she is there for them during these hard times just like they have been there for her with their generous donations. “If anyone needs assistance with their animals, just ask for help, ” said Ice.

The Easton Animal Shelter is at 385 Morehouse Road, Easton Conn. For additional information or assistance, call 203-268-9172.

Its Facebook page can be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/eastonctanimalshelter/ .

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