SAN ANGELO, Texas — Now is a good time to consider adopting or fostering a shelter pet. Managers at Concho Valley PAWS say social distancing rules have forced the shelter to stop on-site pet adoptions, but you can still go through the adoption process online.

“We’re fortunate that it’s not huge yet but the longer this goes on, the more concerned we will be,” said Jenie Wilson, Executive Director of Concho Valley PAWS.

When local and state restrictions mandating social distancing went into place, Concho Valley PAWS shut its doors to prospective pet adopters. In an effort to prevent the euthanasia of animals due to a lack of space, they began hosting free virtual pet adoptions through Facebook.

“We just have the staff talk about the pets, why they chose them, what makes them unique. It’s been great and since it’s through Facebook Live, people can ask us questions about the pet so we can get them direct answers,” explained Wilson.

Once adoption paperwork is filled out online, people can stop by the shelter for the pet through “curbside pickup,” take it home to socialize for 72 hours and decide if the pet is a good fit.

Wilson said pet adoptions have dropped by half since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and adopting and fostering are essential to maintain the shelter’s “No-Kill Initiative.”

“If we have fosters that will get us through mid-May, it will prevent us having a space crisis. Even though we’re okay right now, any influx of animals could have devastating results because our adoptions have taken a hit,” continued Wilson.

Wilson said with so many people staying at home, now is a great time to adopt or foster a pet.

“People are at home so it’s a great time for them to interact with an animal, foster and integrate an animal into their life,” added Wilson.

PAWS has also opened its foster pet food pantry, which is now being used for pet owners who have lost their jobs and might not be able to afford pet food.

“We don’t want people to feel like they have no choice but to surrender their animals. We feel that this is a temporary situation and we want to help people get through it,” said Wilson.

The next virtual pet adoption event will take place on Concho Valley PAWS’ Facebook page (@CVPAWS) at 10AM on Thursday, April 16th.