L.A. to shutter city animal shelters, halt adoptions during virus outbreak

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Kittens peer out of their crate at the Chesterfield Square Animal Shelter in Los Angeles in this undated photo. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Kittens peer out of their crate at the Chesterfield Square Animal Shelter in Los Angeles in this undated photo. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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With Angelenos being urged to avoid public spaces to limit the spread of coronavirus, city animal shelters announced Monday they were closing to the public.

All six adoption centers and administrative offices were shut down effectively immediately, Los Angeles Animal Services said in a community alert sent shortly before 4 p.m.

The order is expected to remain in place through at least the end of the month.

It comes a day after L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the closure of most gathering spaces, including bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters. L.A. County followed suit with a similar order Monday.

Animals Services said it would still have staff dedicated to the pets’ well-being, including feeding, cleaning and social enrichment. Animal Control officers will also continue responding to calls regarding dangerous dogs, animal cruelty and inhumane conditions.

Anyone looking to adopt can still browse available pets on the L.A. Animal Services website. If a particular one catches your eye, call 888-452-7381 to get more information and list yourself as an interested party. You can meet the animal and make a decision once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Anyone with a pet to surrender or lost animal to turn in should hold off for the time being, officials said. You can let the city know you have a lost dog or cat you are sheltering at your home.

If it’s impossible for you to wait to surrender and you live in L.A. or Beverly Hills, contact the nearest shelter. However, facilities currently can’t accept feral felines. 

The World Health Organization says there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in pets, and other experts including the American Veterinary Medical Association say there’s currently no evidence that pets can contract the disease or spread the virus to others, including humans.

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