When COVID-19 impacted our area, the Galveston Island Humane Society took immediate steps to protect the public, our staff and our animals.

Through a passionate plea for community partnership, we were able to foster or adopt out 71 animals over a four-week period — this included 49 canines, 27 felines, one lizard, one turtle, one tortoise and one goat.

Other agencies stepped in to assist us in transporting additional animals to welcoming arms and forever homes. Our staff began forming teams and rotating shifts to be as proactive as possible about safety and animal care. We began taking adoption, foster and supply donations by appointment only.

As we continue to move into a safer community outlook, we’re looking at a two-phased reopening process.

Phase 1: On Monday, we will reopen to public walk-in traffic from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. We will continue to accept and encourage appointments during other customer service hours, and appointments will have preference all day.

• Due to our small lobby, only two families (limit four people per family) will be invited inside at a time and visitors will be asked to wait in their cars or outside until invited in.

• All visitors will be asked to wear masks, and disposable masks will be available if masks are forgotten.

• Staff and volunteers will wear masks when working with each other or the public.

We encourage everyone to visit www.galvestonhumane.org to look at our available pets and complete adoption and foster applications online, before arrival. Applications are now online only, so completing them before arrival will save time.

We will continue to monitor the success of this process and the health of the community. If we see positive progress, we may begin to move to Phase 2 and reopen fully in July.

Our shelter has always been dedicated to promoting animal welfare and the protection and prevention of unwanted or homeless animals on Galveston Island. Now, more than ever, we need your support to ensure that our animals receive the necessary care and love they deserve, no matter what is happening in our world.

Visit us online as your donations allow us to provide the best care possible for the 2,700-plus pets we meet each year while we work toward happy outcomes.

Caroline Dorsett-Pate is the executive director of the Galveston Island Humane Society.

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