SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- During this time where so many are at home, animal shelters are clearing out across the country.
Animal adoptions and those looking to foster are up 70%, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals.
Here in western Mass, a bright light during this pandemic...with a similar outpouring of support for a Springfield shelter.
It was love at first sight when Melissa LeDoux of Longmeadow met her foster dog, Moe, outside the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center in Springfield.
“I'm here to foster an animal because I have time, my job was shut down. I'm home 24/7. Let them get lots of loving, we can find out what's wrong with the dog, what his habits are,” LeDoux said.
She is one of dozens of foster families pitching in to help clear the shelter now that it's shut down until at least April 5.
“We are really, really relieved to say that everything is going as good as it possibly can,” said Pam Peebles, executive director of Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center.
Peebles tells Western Mass News adoptions are suspended and they are working with a skeleton crew.
There are two staff each day to take care of the animals and two animal control officers, Peebles said.
“We are still actively responding to priority one and two calls. That means if there is a human or animal in danger, we want to hear about it,” she explained.
Right now, routine calls will be prioritized, and inside, out of necessity, just about every single animal is with a foster.
“We went from about 35 cats and 25 dogs to today, we're at about four dogs and 10 cats. So it's a very different feel in there,” Peebles noted.
By the weekend, there will be even less. Peebles says they have been flooded with calls for help.
“We have! Your viewers are so amazing! So many people want to help,” she said.
Like Tracy Calvanese of South Hadley.
“This is Poncho, and I'm fostering him during the quarantine so he doesn't have to stay in the shelter and find him a forever home,” Calvanese said.
During this time with so much uncertainty, Peebles says its a win-win. These little guys get extra love and attention, and so do their new foster families.
Peebles also wants to remind people that even though the doors are closed, they are still available 24/7 by phone. Pet food and other assistance are also still available for anyone struggling to meet the needs of their animals, especially during this tough time.
Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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