South Texas Animal Shelter Needing More Fosters as State Reopens
By Marco Ramirez
Photography By Marco Ramirez
EDINBURG – Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, The Palm Valley Animal Society has kept providing the best care possible to all the animals that have shown up at their door.
But their primary focus during this pandemic, has been to keep both their employees and the community safe.
“This has been an unusual situation for all of us,” PVAS Executive Director Donna Casamento said. “We’ve stepped up all of our sanitation policies and procedures and have limited the number of people in our facilities.”
But, the biggest way the public can help Palm Valley stay safe, is by lowering the number of animals in their two shelters through fostering and adoptions.
“We’re operating on social distancing here in the shelter,” Casamento said. “When we have hundreds and hundreds of animals here in the shelter to care for on a daily basis that makes it very difficult.”
While PVAS is practicing social distancing in their shelters, they are providing alternative ways for people to adopt and foster without stepping foot inside. You can select an animal listed on their website, consult with an employee over the phone, and pick up your pet through curbside.
Even while this pandemic has forced Palm Valley to change how they operate their shelters, they have still been able to achieve extraordinary milestones.
PVAS has now reached a 93% save rate of their animals for the very first time. Their pet intake has also reached a new low with only 250 animals currently in the shelters.
“Even with this pandemic happening we are still trying to save lives.” PVAS Manager of Life Saving Programs, Melissa Saldana said.
Saldana said the shelter has been able to reduce their animal population with the help of the community.
“We have had so many people want to help during this time,” Saldana said. “We have put over 200 hundred animals into foster homes since the pandemic began.”
With a lower animal population, Palm Valley has also been able to focus on medical cases they couldn’t previously tackle.
So much so, they have now turned their euthanasia room into a medical operation room for sick or injured animals.
“It is a room where life-saving happens and not primarily euthanasia,” PVAS Medical Director Dr. Erin Katribe said. “So that’s something for us to celebrate.”
And while they have also suspended all spay and neuter surgeries temporality, it has also allowed Palm Valley to save their medical resources.
“In veterinary medicine we use the same medical supplies as we do in human healthcare,” Katribe said. “So, we have this ethical obligation to preserve those supplies for human medicine.”
While Palm Valley’s animal intake has gone down during the COVID-19 outbreak, there is anticipation that those numbers will rise again as Texas re-opens. Casamento hopes the community will still be able to help them keep their animal intake low.
“Everybody that is fostering and maybe going back to work now, we’re saying don’t just bring (your animal) to us right now,” Casamento said. “Hold off a little bit, let’s see if we can continue to support you to keep that animal in the home.”
And while the state re-opens, Casamento hopes more people will step up to help save more animals’ lives.
“As things get back to normal, we just hope people continue to embrace our mission.” Casamento said. “The more we can work together to help all the animals who come to our facility, the better off we will be as a community and the better off the animals will be.
If you wish to foster or adopt a pet from the Palm Valley Animal Society, you can go to their website at pvastx.org. You can also support the shelter by making a donation online.