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COVID prompts Ontario County Humane Society to pursue virtual adoption processes

In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, the Ontario County Humane Society — Happy Tails Animal Shelter (OCHS) realizes it can be at least several more weeks until the shelter is able to resume normal business hours and operations.

However, finding the animals in its care the right forever home remains a top priority. That’s why the shelter is coordinating virtual adoptions to place dogs and cats in the right homes throughout the pandemic.

With federal social-distancing guidelines extended to April 30, the shelter remains closed to the public. To protect the health and safety of its staff and volunteers, OCHS is using its Facebook page to coordinate adoptions virtually, spotlighting adoptable animals and hosting virtual meet and greets on Fridays at 1 p.m.

“We’ve never navigated anything like COVID-19,” Shelter Manager Dianne Faas said. “While this is completely uncharted territory, placing our animals in loving forever homes remains our mission. Animals are a source of comfort, love and stress reduction in a chaotic, unprecedented time. We’re calling on animal lovers in our community to open their homes and hearts to our pets waiting for their second chance.”

Prospective foster families and adoptees can learn more about the animals by:

  1. Downloading an application from the website and emailing it to[email protected]. The application does not commit you to an adoption, but acts as a placeholder to meet a prospective pet.
  2. After reviewing an application, the shelter will coordinate an individual meet and greet with the animal.
  3. When adoptees arrive at Happy Tails to bring their new pet home, the adoption will take place outdoors and social distancing and COVID-19 health best practices will be implemented.

“After our first Facebook Live video that kicked off our virtual adoptions, we received several inquiries from community members interested in starting the virtual adoption process,” added Faas. “We are so thrilled about the initial interest of virtual adoptions and if we can find even one of the animals in our care a great home through a virtual adoption, then we have done our job and it will all be worth it.”

The next Facebook Live will introduce long term residents available for adoption on Friday April, 10 at 1 p.m. The next tour of all animals waiting to be adopted is scheduled for Friday, April 17 at 1pm, hosted by Happy Tails Animal Shelter Adoption Coordinator Erika Murphy.

For more information on Canandaigua-based Ontario County Humane Society and Happy Tails Animal Shelter, visit

Categories: LifeOntario County