Shelter attempts to place dogs and cats in homes during coronavirus shutdown

ROCKFORD — After shutting down adoptions entirely for more than two weeks, the county's animal shelter is back in business, albeit with some restrictions.

The dogs and cats at the Winnebago County Animal Services shelter are once again up for adoption, but anyone interested in adopting an animal at this time must fill out a questionnaire online in advance and specify the animal they want to adopt.

They can do this by watching videos of dogs and cats on the shelter's Facebook page.

Then, because of social distancing and public gathering rules in place during the novel coronavirus pandemic, they'll need to make an appointment to stop by the shelter to meet the potential pet in person. Appointments will be offered in 30-minute increments from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Only approved adopters will be able to get appointments.

The shelter "reopened" this way on Monday, and already a handful of animals have gone home with new owners.

Animal Services Administrator Brett Frazier said the shelter did its best to get as many animals out of the shelter as it could before Gov. JB Pritzker issued the state's stay-at-home order.

"We love pets and animals just as much as you do, and this order won’t cause us to euthanize any pets," Frazier posted on the shelter's Facebook page. "Euthanasia decisions at our shelter are never made because of space or time. ... Those pets left in the shelter ... will likely be with us for the duration of the governor's executive order. We will continue to care for them just like always until we can reopen to the public."

Frazier said the shelter had roughly 40 dogs and 40 cats at the beginning of the stay-at-home period, which started March 21 and will run through at least April 30.

"A new pet can sure go a long way to pass some of the time," Frazier said.

Animal services has been limiting its work during this time, as well. It has been accepting only emergency intakes. Animal control officers are providing essential services but responding in person only to emergency calls.

The Winnebago County Animal Services shelter is at 4517 N. Main St. in Rockford.

In 2019, Winnebago County Animal Services helped more than 2,100 pets find new homes through adoption.

To fill out an adoption questionnaire online, visit wcasrock.org.

Corina Curry: ccurry@rrstar.com; @corinacurry