Morrisville animal shelter set to reopen after Pandemic closure

MORRISVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) – While curbside pickup and virtual meetings were the backbone of business during the pandemic, sometimes you need to meet face-to-face. That’s especially true when adopting pets. The North Country Animal League in Morrisville has been closed to the public since the pandemic began, but guests will now be welcome inside the kennels to find a furry friend starting Saturday.

The North Country Animal League in Morrisville is teeming with potential pets both big and small. And for the first time since the pandemic began, guests will once again be allowed in to meet these furry friends at the facility.

“It’ll be really great to be able to unlock our doors, invite visitors and guests to come to visit the shelter during open hours, and meet the animals and hopefully adopt,” said NCAL’s Tracy Goldfine.

She says it’s a moment they’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Because animal shelters were considered essential businesses, their staff kept coming in during the pandemic. Goldfine says while cross-state transports were way down, local intake was up. “We have done adoptions all the way through and cared for animals obviously, but we haven’t had our doors open to visitors and guests so they can come interact with the animals,” Goldfine said.

The ASPCA reports that more than 23 million American households — about 1 in 5 nationwide — adopted a pet during the pandemic. Goldfine says that the shelter remained busy throughout the past two years as people sought companionship. But the way they met their animals was a little different. “We did a lot of adoptions curbside and meet and greets curbside,” she said.

When things started to open up across Vermont again, NCAL was slated to re-open in the summer. But in April the shelter had an outbreak of distemper in the dog kennels, which affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs. To prevent risk to the public and to ensure the pups got the care they needed, they postponed plans to re-open. “We wanted to see the animals through their illness and have them here at the shelter with us to make sure that everybody was safe,” Goldfine said.

After about five months of work with veterinarians, Goldfine says all has been resolved. “It was a little bit straining and we’re happy that all the dogs that went through that are now healthy and now have all been adopted out,” she said.

The Pet Adoption Center opens to the public on Saturday.

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