As you may know, our community is currently experiencing an outbreak of Canine Distemper — a contagious, deadly disease preventable by vaccines. As a result, our city animal shelter, Tulsa Animal Welfare, has been put in a terrible position and has had to close its doors for intakes until the situation subsides. Due to this, we have been seeing an increase in owner surrender requests and requests to take stray animals. As we are a managed admissions facility; once we are full, we have to start denying animals because we will not euthanize for space.
Through the last month, the number of individuals showing up at our facility with an animal and without an intake appointment, has skyrocketed. Since our intakes are planned out in advance, we have had to turn many of these strays away. We would like to encourage anyone picking up a stray to be prepared to hold the animal in their home (in a spare room, laundry room, bathroom, heated garage, etc.), until we can get them in for a scheduled intake appointment. We are happy to loan supplies to make this easier on families willing to go the extra mile for a stray they found! Please reach out to us if you are in need of extra food or crates to make this happen!
We also encourage finders to have the animal checked for a microchip, and to post them as “Found” on social media & the NextDoor app if a chip cannot be found.
If you are currently trying to surrender an animal, please keep in mind we are operating at-capacity as it stands. We are also doing our best to be diligent about only accepting vaccinated animals, so we are not also put in a position of having to completely close our doors for intakes while we battle a preventable illness outbreak. If your animal is not up to date on vaccines and we decide to accept, you will have to get their shots updated and hold them for at least a week before their intake appointment. While we may not have space on-campus to house your animal, in most situations, we would be willing to assist with their vet care, provide supplies, promote them for adoption, screen potential adopters, and facilitate the adoption if you are willing to “foster” the animal for us until adopted. This means, the animal would remain in the home with you until adopted or we happen to come across space on campus. This also ensures we are only using kennels on-campus for those with truly nowhere else to go; i.e. cruelty situations, strays where the finder refuses to hold onto the animal, abandonment situations, etc.
We would also like to use this situation to remind the public we have a low-cost vaccine clinic, where a Parvo/Distemper vaccine can be purchased through the end of the year for $10. We highly encourage everyone to vaccinate their animals ASAP if not already, and to keep up with these annually. As citizens and pet-owners of Tulsa, the responsibility of maintaining local pet health and minimizing disease outbreaks falls on all of us.
Lastly, we would like to thank everyone for their patience as we work through this difficult time. As always, we encourage you to sign up to be a foster parent with us if you’d like to help us by housing some of these animals until they find their forever homes!