Dakin Humane Society providing shelter for pets with COVID-19 positive owners

Hampden County

Photo: Dakin Humane Society

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dakin Humane Society is caring for pets from households where residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

The organization told 22News they’ve recently taken in two cats and four dogs through its Safety Plan for Animals (SPAN) Program, becoming one of the first in the state to do so.

Executive Director Carmine DiCenso explained that in one case, a man was in the hospital for three days before he was able to tell staff he had a dog alone at his Shutesbury home. The man’s daughter who lives several hours away was able to communicate with them and law enforcement to safely remove the dog from the home.

Sampa, the dog, is doing well in our care. Sadly, the man passed away within a matter of days but he had peace of mind knowing his pet was safe and is being cared for.

Executive Director, Carmine DiCenso
Photo: Dakin Humane Society

Dakin started the SPAN program several years ago to provide shelter for pets belonging to people who are experiencing crises including fleeing an abusive household, losing a home due to a fire, or facing an unexpected stay in a hospital or nursing facility.

The local shelter says they’re now using the program to help pets whose people are being hospitalized with COVID-19. There is a limited number of spots available. DiCenso advises pet owners to designate a friend or family member who can step in and take care of their pets if they can’t, and a back-up for that person as well.

“It’s also a good idea for anyone with a pet to have a pet supply kit prepared. Ideally it would have a 2-week supply of pet medications, their food and bottled water as well as food bowls, leashes, toys and comfort items, medical records, important phone numbers and a recent photo of your pet,” DiCenso said.

Dakin Humane Society has two locations in Leverett and Springfield.

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