Shelter Uses Innovative Methods to Help Showcase Animals

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Provided by Prince William County

Even with new protocols set in place to deal with COVID-19, the Prince William County Animal Shelter is holding its own in the number of adoptions it’s making.

In the first four months of 2020, 70 percent of the animals in the shelter were adopted. That’s is up 28 percent from the same period in 2019, said Jeremy Beale, communications manager for the shelter.

Measures to keep people safe at the Animal Shelter were first put into effect in early April and revised in mid-March. “As time went on, and procedures began to change nationwide, the shelter adjusted and implemented stricter guidance,” Beale said.

Stricter Guidelines and Procedures

Even with more rigorous guidelines, people are adopting pets, Beale said. “Most people are bringing animals into their homes because they feel that it is the right time. Due to the stay-at-home orders, families feel like they have plenty of time to invest added attention towards training a shelter animal. People are excited to support the shelter and offer their homes to help a shelter animal in need.”

The stricter procedures prevent people from walking through the shelter without an appointment to see potential pets. So the Animal Shelter started a social media campaign with training and pet introduction videos on Facebook, Beale said.

“We began to utilize social media to keep our community connected and provide them with the necessary information to ensure our shelter animals, as well as pets across Prince William County, were happy and healthy,” Beale said. “Where the shelter lost the ability to have our community walk through the shelter, we were able to provide virtual tours and daily animal bios to keep them informed of what animals were in the shelter. Where the shelter lost the ability to engage with our community in a fun way, we were able to make light-hearted, fun videos to boost the community’s morale while featuring shelter animals in need of adoption.”


The shelter is taking visitors by appointment to help protect against the spread of COVID-19, Beale said. “We schedule approximately 13 appointments on any given day, Tuesday through Sunday; and appointments are scheduled in 30-minute intervals.”

Those interested in making an appointment can call the shelter at 703-792-6465 or email [email protected].


Beale said people can also visit Petfinder before visiting the shelter, to see what animals – among the cats, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, turtles, snakes, geckos, chickens, roosters, pigs and goats – they might want to adopt.

When people arrive at the shelter for their appointments there are a few procedures to follow, Beale said. Shelter staff will ask the people if they have traveled outside of the state or country in the last month; if they, or anyone in their household, have any flu-like symptoms; or if anyone in their household has been under an isolation or quarantine recommendation or order.

Beale said that the community has been supportive during this time. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as the shelter is operating under these new protocols. We encourage residents to continue visiting Petfinder and helping us find new homes for our shelter animals.”

More information about the Animal Shelter is available at


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