ST. CLOUD -- The furry residents of the Tri-County Humane Society are still being adopted at high rates during the pandemic.

Unlike many shelters, which are closed to the public entirely, the Tri-County Humane Society has remained open – with reduced hours and stricter rules and regulations.

“Things have definitely changed,” said Volunteer Coordinator Kate Kompas. “When all of this came up, we wanted to see if we could make it work while still being responsible and doing all the things we need to do. And actually, it’s been working pretty well.”

The shelter has reduced open hours to noon-5:00 p.m. each day, and are operating with a slimmer team of volunteers. Kompas says staff have adopted more stringent cleaning and sanitizing protocols and erected barriers to space people 6 feet apart from one another.

But the biggest change, says Kompas, is that all viewings and adoptions must be scheduled in advance.

“We used to be very ‘come on in, browse at your leisure, check them out, whatever,” Kompas said. “Now, we’re doing appointments for viewings, appointments for adoptions. We’ve done that to regulate the amount of traffic in the building at one time. A lot of animals are going home, which is awesome – it’s what we want. But we also don’t want to put our staff, our customers or anyone at risk.”

The new system appears to be working; Kompas says Tri-County is typically booked solid with appointments, averaging around eight pet adoptions per day. Kompas suspects Minnesota's stay at home order could be a factor.

"A lot of people are saying, 'you know what? I always wanted to adopt, and now I'm home for the foreseeable future," she said. "Now is a great time. They can bond with the animal and be there for it. If it's a dog or a puppy, they can get it going on a training schedule."

Right now, Kompas says shelter is fairly well-stocked with supplies like pet food and assorted cleaning products, but they would welcome any financial support supporters can provide. Kompas says you can also support the shelter by buying pet food, supplies and toys at their adjacent store.

"We're always looking for financial contributions," Kompas said. "Even if they're not big ones, they always make such a difference."

For more information, visit the Tri-County Humane Society's website.

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