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Cape Coral Animal Shelter open for business

By Staff | Mar 20, 2020

Sometimes, we need a glimmer of sunshine to brighten our world.

That’s exactly what the Cape Coral Animal Shelter is offering residents — an animal, a forever friend, an addition to the family.

On Thursday, the new 6,512-square-foot facility opened for adoptions and, ultimately, found four dogs and three cats a place to call their own.

“There was a lot of happy tears here yesterday,” said Cape Coral Animal Shelter Executive Director, Liz McCauley on Friday. “There’s some tragic things going on in the world, but it was a happy day here yesterday.”

Shelter officials took a multitude of precautions prior to and during Thursday’s operations, allowing a certain number of people inside at a time, making sure visitors were keeping their distance and limiting the number of people in each area of the building.

“We’re taking all of the precautions that have been recommended to us by the governor,” McCauley said. “We’re limiting how many people we have in one place at one time and we’re obviously disinfecting everything all the time — which is something we do all the time any way. We took every precaution to make sure everyone was safe. The most important thing is that we got seven animals adopted.”

Patrons were given instructions to follow to meet the practice guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The way (the shelter) is set up, we can limit the amount of people in any area at one time,” McCauley said.

When it got a little busy, shelter officials regulated the amount of people inside.

“We just asked people to wait,” McCauley said. “We asked people to keep their distance – to practice social distancing.”

McCauley said the shelter uses a product called 1-Stroke to disinfect the building. It is a hospital-grade, animal-care-grade substance, something they use all the time.

It is mixed with water for balanced dilution and left to sit on surfaces for 10 to 15 minutes.

“It’s a disinfectant that kills a laundry list of viruses and a variety of germs,” McCauley said. “We’ve been using that product to wipe down all of the offices and the door handles. We went through this morning and wiped down every door handle and every mouse and anything anyone possibly touched. And we were doing that in-between adoptions yesterday, too.”

McCauley pointed out that this could be a perfect time to adopt, as people may be limited to life outside of their home other than to get essential needs.

“This is a great time to adopt an animal because if you’re hunkered down at home, you have a couple weeks to get them acclimated and get them used to being at your house. It’s really a great time,” McCauley said.

It’s also a good time to look into being a foster.

“It’s also a great time to foster for us, too, because we know we’re going to be hit hard with a lot of things,” McCauley said. “We know donations are going to be down, so, this is the time to donate and to help us however you can.”

If you’re leery of heading to the shelter, you can always view the available pets on the shelter’s website and set up a scheduled appointment to avoid gatherings of people — something the shelter is more than willing to accommodate.

“People can check out our animals online and call us,” McCauley said. “If someone’s really concerned about being here with other people and want to call us to make an appointment to meet the animal, we’d be happy to do that during this time.”

A highlight of Thursday was a little girl with a smile from ear-to-ear when her family adopted a Jack Russell, beaming while she held her new friend in her arms.

McCauley hopes these moments won’t be put on hold by state-mandated regulation.

“It would be devastating,” McCauley said if the state were to call for their closure. “We’re hoping we don’t have to close because there are a lot of animals here that need homes. We wouldn’t be able to help any other shelters, either. We’re all praying that doesn’t happen.”

One thing’s for sure, all at the shelter are grateful for the community’s support in their two-year effort to get this no kill shelter, the first in Cape Coral, up and running.

McCauley said the shelter is willing to accommodate any special requests and will be following all guidelines and precautions in relation to the current climate for the foreseeable future.

McCauley said they will also have an official grand opening down the road.

The Cape Coral Animal shelter is at 325 SW 2nd Ave.

Visit www.CapeCoralAnimalShelter.com to view pets or call 239-573-2002 to discuss fostering and volunteer opportunities.

For those guests that are serious about adopting, the Cape Coral Animal Shelter adoption hours are as follows:

Thursday: Noon to 6 p.m.

Friday: Noon to 4 p.m.

Saturday: Noon to 4 p.m.

Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m.

Monday: By appointment only

Tuesday: Noon to 5 p.m.

Wednesday: By appointment only

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj