We are an essential business, and we are still open for adoptions.
As a trusted community partner for more than 65 years, and currently as the only operational shelter in Berks County, the Animal Rescue League of Berks County is committed to doing as much as we can to stay fully operational and to help pet owners prepare their families and their pets throughout the COVID-19 disruption. In an effort to do our part to help keep Berks Countians healthy and to keep our staff as safe as we can throughout this disruption, we will be implementing some changes effective Tuesday, March 17 to help with shelter operations.
“It is our greatest hope that people continue to adopt, foster and donate throughout this disruption so that we can remain fully operational, and that they seriously take our recommendations to put a plan in place should they become ill or need to quarantine themselves or their family members,” says Alexis Pagoulatos, the ARL’s executive director. “The ARL is a resilient organization that has been through a lot during its 67 years and has always remained focused on its mission to help both the people and the pets in our community. We remain committed to doing the same during this unprecedented time.”
Please consider donating to help us through these difficult times to keep the shelter open, operational and the trusted community resource you’ve always depended on. Thank you, and be well.
Please rest assured that you cannot get COVID-19 from your pets.
Here are additional resources for caring for your pets through COVID-19:
Limiting the number of people in the shelter and requiring all visitors to wear face masks:
Using a virtual waitlist. So that we do not reach critical capacity, it is imperative we continue to adopt animals throughout this disruption. Therefore, instead of suspending adoptions, we will work with interested adopters by using a virtual waitlist, which will allow adopters to wait safely in their car or outside until we have a counselor ready to work personally with them. If you are interested in meeting someone, please check in when you arrive at the shelter by clicking HERE.
Temporarily suspending our volunteer program. Opportunities will resume as soon as experts lift “social distancing” recommendations.
Effective on 4/20/20, all employees and visitors who come into the building will be required to undergo a temperature check and wear a face mask as per PA mandate.
Continuing to move animals out of the shelter and into homes:
Building our foster reserves. We are actively seeking emergency reserve fosters to help care for a cat, dog or other small animals temporarily in their home, as well as fosters willing to care for the hundreds of kittens who are expected to arrive in the coming weeks. Fosters are typically needed for a few days to a few weeks, and only need to provide a small space in their home, like a bedroom or bathroom for the animal(s). We will provide all food, supplies, medical care and support for the animals. To learn more, please contact the ARL at email@example.com or by phone at 610-373-8830 x117 to speak with our foster coordinator.
Encouraging adoptions. Because so many people will be home with their children or working from home over the next few weeks, we can think of no better time to acclimate a new pet to your family to enjoy his or her company.
Limiting the number of animals coming into the shelter and giving priority to residents in municipalities who have an animal control contract:
Reducing availability of owner surrender appointments. In a two-pronged approach to help keep visitor traffic to a minimum and help the shelter from reaching a critical capacity, we will reduce the number of appointments available for people to surrender their pets. “We understand it might be an inconvenience to keep a pet you are not able to care for, but during this disruption, we will need to place you on a waiting list for at least 2 to 4 weeks to help stem the amount of animals coming into the shelter,” says Pagoulatos. Appointments will be prioritized to residents in municipalities who have an animal control contract with the ARL.
Assisting those who may need temporary help with a pet. If a community member finds him or herself in a situation where they want to keep their pet but may not be able to do so due to financial, health or other reasons, please contact us to receive assistance. Please call 610-373-8830 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reducing incoming stray animals. Our Admissions Department will continue to accept stray animals from contracted municipalities, and we will encourage residents who live in municipalities with another animal control provider to contact that organization for help. Our Department of Field Services will continue to prioritize calls for humane law and animal cruelty complaints, as well as calls for animals who are sick, injured or a threat to public safety. While we plan to do our very best to assist those who live in municipalities without any animal control contract or without one with the ARL, please know that we must prioritize services to contracted municipal residents first. Currently, the following municipalities are contracted with the ARL: Reading, Bern, Birdsboro, New Morgan, Upper Bern and Wyomissing. Please know that if we should become critically close to capacity, we will prioritize space for stray animals coming in from those contracted municipalities, and we may ask residents from non-contracted municipalities to consider leaving healthy and uninjured cats where they were found if their municipality does not have an animal control provider. In many cases, this will give the cat a chance to return to his or her home and keep them out of the shelter system, where the reunion rate is only 2%.
We will continue to offer end-of-life services. Please call 610-373-8830 to schedule an appointment.
Asking the public for assistance:
Please make a plan for your pet in case you become ill or need to be quarantined. Stock up on supplies and medicine for your pet and make sure directions are clearly labeled on your pet’s food and medicine. Work out a care plan with your neighbor, family or friends to care for your pet in case you become too ill to do so. Ensure that your emergency care person knows your pet’s veterinarian’s name and number and that your pet is up-to-date with his/her vaccines in case you need to emergency board him/her. And finally, make sure your pet is microchipped or wearing an identification collar in case he or she gets out and you are too sick to find him or her.
Please donate. Because we needed to move our major fundraiser to the end of the year due to the recommendations to avoid large crowds, we will be reliant more than ever on individual gifts to help us continue to operate and care for unprecedented amounts of animals throughout this disruption. Please consider giving. A donation can be made online here, by phone at 610-373-8830, or by mailing a check payable to the ARL at 58 Kennel Road, Birdsboro, PA 19508.