Let’s hope one major problem doesn’t lead to another.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to determine what we must do to prevent the spread of this disease. Thwarting further exposure to the novel coronavirus and reducing deaths have demanded substantial changes in our behavior. Seeing what’s at stake, these measures make sense.

But other concerns don’t cease just because one particular crisis has dominated our attention. These issues may fall through the cracks in the process, which would be unfortunate.

One of them is the ongoing care for animals at shelters across the country. They need food, exercise and medical attention as much as they did before the pandemic struck.

The good news is that people do not need to isolate themselves from their companion animals during this time. The World Organisation for Animal Health in France as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the virus.

Many local animal shelters are operating under appointment-only rules. So people who are looking to adopt or donate some needed items should contact the ones in their areas to find out what procedures they advise.

The Jefferson County SPCA in Watertown is asking supporters to sign up for its COVID-19 emergency foster backup plan. Animal shelters are considered essential businesses under the state’s mandate restricting people from showing up to their places of work, so SPCA personnel can still care for the animals they have.

But if forced to close, they need foster homes to host as many of their animals as possible for a period of time. This will reduce the number of individuals who need to show up on-site to care for whatever animals are left.

The Jefferson County SPCA is a no-kill shelter, meaning that those who operate it want to keep all the animals they have alive by finding them good homes. They are committed to remaining a no-kill shelter, so they need people willing to help them carry out their mission. Visit http://wdt.me/QqJPMd for more information, or call 315-782-3260 to inquire about other ways to help.

The Lewis County Humane Society in Glenfield also is working with adoptive families through appointments. Call 315-376-8349 for more information.

“As stated earlier, we’re open by appointment only for serious considerations for adoptions only,” the group announced on its Facebook page. “Most of our animals have had their adoption fees sponsored. Now is a good time to reduce our numbers at the shelter if you’re thinking of adopting.”

The organization took in five dogs being sheltered by the Herkimer County Humane Society; the dogs were on a euthanasia list at a high-kill shelter in Kentucky. This is a wonderful example of shelters cooperating with each other to ensure animals don’t die needlessly. Having loving families consider adopting one of them is a great way to join this effort.

Other shelters in Northern New York are operating by appointment only. Here is the contact information for those in our region:

n Massena Humane Society — Call 315-764-1330 between 1 and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

n St. Lawrence Valley SPCA in Ogdensburg — Call 315-393-5191.

n Potsdam Humane Society — Call 315-265-3199, or send emails to shelter@potsdamhumanesociety.org.

n Oswego County Humane Society — Call 315-207-1070, or send emails to info@oswegohumane.org.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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