Animal protection organizations are calling upon governors to classify veterinary practices, wildlife rehabilitation facilities, and other animal shelters and services as essential. This comes as state and federal leaders make emergency declarations to suspend non-essential operations and stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society Legislative Fund, and Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association are working to ensure no animals are neglected due to a lack of sufficient government emergency planning. The immediate effort focuses on operations such as animal shelters, horse boarding, and wildlife rehabilitation facilities, sanctuaries, veterinary practices, and pet food and supply stores. 

“The impact of this crisis on the veterinary profession is staggering,” Pam Runquist, Executive Director of Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, said. “Many practices cannot get the supplies that they need for procedures and are scaling back services to emergency care. We urge all states to designate veterinary businesses as essential services so that they can continue to provide necessary medical care for pets and all animals.” Across the country, HSUS state directors have been in contact with emergency managers and other state officials to ensure that these vital goods and services are available to people who are caring for animals.