Changes to PAWS services in light of COVID-19: We continue rescuing animals! Adoptions and foster by appointment only; clinic appointments available for sick pets; walk-in vaccine clinics and spay/neuter suspended. Also, the Emergency Fund for PAWS has been launched to ensure we can keep doing our lifesaving work despite the current crisis.
Please read. >
03.23.2020

PAWS Services and COVID-19


We are providing this update on PAWS’ efforts to protect the health and safety of our staff, clients, volunteers, adopters, and fosters during this unprecedented time of concern about the spread of COVID-19, and in light of the City of Philadelphia’s mandate that all nonessential businesses close until further notice. Veterinary clinics and pet stores are considered essential, but we have made significant modifications to limit the number of people who can gather in our facilities in an effort to protect everyone’s health while still carrying out our lifesaving work.

We believe that maintaining our lifesaving adoption and foster programs and continuing to serve pets and pet owners who depend on our clinic services is our responsibility to our community, and vital to our mission. Therefore, we will continue to rescue animals from the city shelter and elsewhere with the same urgency as always.

However, 

Walk-in Vaccine Clinics at both our Grays Ferry and Grant Avenue clinics will be closed until further notice.

Wellness Clinic: Both our Northeast and Grays Ferry clinics will continue to serve pets who are sick, but wellness checks and visits for other routine care (vaccinations, heartworm/combo testing, nail trims, health certificates for flying, etc.) will not be scheduled until at least after April 3rd. For clients who do come for appointments, there will be a new procedure for checking in and communicating with our veterinary team to limit exposure and ensure that visitors maintain a healthy distance from each other. When you arrive, you may be asked to wait outside.

Foster Walk-In Clinic: Foster walk-in clinic for current PAWS foster animals will operate with normal hours. Please ONLY come if your foster pet is sick or needs boosters, unless otherwise instructed by the foster team (for example, necessary scheduled rechecks). Please do NOT bring your foster pet to walk-in clinic for general wellness checks or issues that are not time-sensitive.

Spay/Neuter Services are cancelled until further notice, with the exception of certain emergency cases. This decision will ensure we have the supplies and resources needed in the coming weeks, and relieve pressure on medical supply inventory for human hospital use.

Our Adoption Centers will not be open for browsing to the public. Instead, foster and adoption pick-ups must be scheduled and will operate by appointment only. Because many people are staying home or limiting activity, we encourage you to adopt if you are able and well, as the animals continue to need your support! To contact our adoptions team, please visit phillypaws.org/adopt, email adoptions@phillypaws.org, or call 215-298-9680 ext. 30. You may also fill out our cat adoption application or dog adoption application online.

Fosters are key to our ability to continue saving lives, so please contact our foster team at our Grays Ferry shelter if you can temporarily take home a dog, cat, or litter of kittens in need and they will schedule an appointment with you. To contact our foster team, please see phillypaws.org/foster for more information, email foster@phillypaws.org, or call 215-298-9680 ext. 16.

Volunteers: We and the animals still need you! We are reducing the number of shifts to essential levels, so please sign up if you are well and ensure the animals have all the attention and care they need during these uncertain times.

If you must surrender the pet you adopted from PAWS, it must come to our shelter at 2900 Grays Ferry Avenue. Please email adoptions@phillypaws.org to schedule an appointment.

These practices are based on a review of current recommendations and procedures from national organizations, government agencies, and local “peer” vet practices. However, this is a constantly evolving situation, and we will announce additional changes as they become warranted.

What PAWS staff and volunteers are doing:

  • Maintaining our robust procedures already in place – in accordance with shelter best practices – to ensure sanitary facilities and prevent the spread of disease, including: using gloves, gowns, and masks as appropriate when handling animals; transporting animals using bio-secure methods; isolating sick or diseased animals; thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting animal housing, bowls, and other supplies; and, properly disposing of waste.
  • Staying home if they are sick, symptomatic, immuno-compromised, or concerned they have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Implementing additional cleaning and disinfecting procedures, using gloves when handling client paperwork, and regularly sanitizing surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, and chairs.
  • Promoting “social distancing” in our facilities, as recommended by health officials.

What we are asking of you:

  • If you are immuno-compromised, feel sick, or have any concerning symptoms, we ask that you wait until you have been symptom-free for 14 days before coming to our facilities.
  • If the above applies to you and you have a pet who needs veterinary care in our clinics, please identify a friend who is well to bring them for their appointment.
  • If you arrive at our facilities and are symptomatic, our staff will respectfully ask you to leave. (If you have brought a sick pet who needs to be seen, our staff will find a way to accommodate them safely, most likely by bringing them in for their appointment while you wait outside.)

We intend for these measures to enable us to continue saving lives and serving our community, while protecting our staff, volunteers, and visitors. Of course, this situation is evolving daily, so we will continue to communicate any changes in our practices, procedures, or services as decisions are made. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your understanding and support, and for the love and care you give to Philadelphia’s pets.

Emergency Fund for PAWS

PAWS is at a critical moment, and we desperately need your help.

Please view this special message from Melissa Levy, PAWS executive director.

While our world in many ways has come to a halt, there is no lull in the number of pets whose lives depend on our immediate help. Throughout this crisis, animals continue to find safe haven at PAWS. We have nearly 30 dogs and over 300 cats and kittens in our care, with more coming in every day.

Our already tight budget is being stretched to its limits, with no end in sight. It will become harder for us to continue operating as time goes on, and we are braced for even more animals to need us in the coming weeks and months.

PAWS is determined to weather this storm, and continue carrying out our mission to save homeless animals and to serve the people who rely on us for veterinary care when their pets are sick.

Please, if you are able to make a special gift to protect the most vulnerable pets in our community, give now.

Your generous support of PAWS at this critical time will have a profound impact.