The Ulster County SPCA recently received a special delivery from New York City: four cats and a guinea pig from the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC).

“We are constantly placing animals of rescue groups all around New York state," said Hayley Richards, placement transporter at ACC. “It’s a joy getting to do this, to get to see animals going to such wonderful places and wonderful people who are going to take care of them.”

The delivery is part of an initiative organized by the New York State Animal Protection Federation.

“We advocate on behalf of the shelters, but we also are able to put together a network of shelters who can help out in times of need, specifically, COVID-19,” said Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation.

The federation, with its partners in the city, is placing animals displaced by COVID-19 in shelters upstate.

“We are one of the first ones to receive animals from the city whose owners have died from the virus,” said Gina Carbonari, executive director of the Ulster County SPCA.

With reports of animals being tested positive for the coronavirus, the shelter is placing the animals in immediate quarantine.

“Although there is no evidence that our animals can spread the coronavirus, we do want to take an abundance of caution," she said.

Post is supportive of this plan.

"If an animal has been in a house with COVID-19 and the patient was petting them, it is possible for there to be cells that have slipped from the infected person to the animal," she said. "In order to make sure that those cells die and are no longer active, we just put the animals through the 14-day quarantine.”

The cats will be placed in the shelter’s new cat room, recently renovated and cleaned up in time to assist the federation. In the meantime, Carbonari said the shelter is always accepting applications for adoption.

"Open your house to another family member that might be a little bit furrier than we are. We really want to see these animals getting into homes," she said.

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