COVID-19 Information

What We’re Doing

The OHS continues to operate as an essential service in Ottawa, helping the animals when they’re most vulnerable. As a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the OHS has implemented its emergency plan and has taken a number of important steps to make sure we’re able to continue providing our essential services and care for Ottawa’s animals in need.

Shelter Operations:

  • Enhanced cleaning measures and physical barriers have been implemented onsite to prevent the spread of germs.
  • The Shirley Kearns Memorial Adoption Centre is closed to the public, but we are offering physically distanced, appointment-based adoptions. Visit our animals available for adoption!
  • The intake of animals is being prioritized based on need.
  • The incoming transfer of animals is suspended.
  • The number of animals placed in foster care has been increased. If you would like to learn about becoming a foster volunteer, visit
  • If you believe your lost pet may be at the OHS, or to bring in an animal, contact us first at 613-725-3166, ext. 221 to book an appointment.


  • All on- and off-site programming and events have been suspended. This includes:
    • Brightening Lives Animal Visits;
    • Outreach programs/events;
    • Mobile spay/neuter services; and
    • Microchip clinics.
    • Humane Education classroom presentations, fields trips, and clubs.

NOTE: All suspensions and cancellations are in effect until February 1.

This decision was not made lightly and takes into consideration the safety of OHS staff, volunteers, animals and clients – all a part of our community. We feel that it is important to continue operating by making our essential services a priority,  including, care for animals in distress, fostering, adoptions by appointment, and a number of new community initiatives to support pet owners in need, such as our emergency pet foodbank. By cancelling on-site programming, we are able to significantly reduce the number of people visiting the shelter, in line with Ottawa Public Health’s current physical distancing recommendations.

To replace our school programming, we developed innovative virtual activities for kids to learn more about animals and how they can help build a humane and compassionate community. We also moved our seminars for pet owners to an online format to help support the health and safety of our community.

COVID-19 Community Pet Resources for Our Community and You:

  • Emergency pet food support to pet owners at risk during this time of financial uncertainty;
  • Resources and support for smaller rescue partners;
  • Support for if you are considering surrendering your pet to the OHS;
  • Resources for creating your emergency pet care plan; and
  • Online private obedience training through Zoom for dog owners.

To learn more about these programs and other available resources, visit COVID-19 Community Resources.

Request a pet food pick-up appointment

What the Animals in Our Care Need

We’re taking all measures possible to ensure the animals in our care can continue receiving the care they need while we face a shortage of resources. Here are some things you can do to help the animals at a time when it’s needed most:

  • Essential OHS staff are on-site to meet the needs of the animals in our care. Many of our animals have been placed into foster care. We have a need for foster homes that have experience with large dogs. If you’re interested in joining this program or would like to learn more, we encourage you to visit
  • The OHS is currently not accepting donations of any new or used items from our wish list.
  • You, and other loyal animal lovers like you, are always so willing to reach out with compassionate arms to embrace vulnerable animals in need. The animals need your help now more than ever.

Donate Now

What We Recommend You Do

At this time, the World Health Organization (WHO) is aware of instances of animals and pets that have been infected with COVID-19. They believe that there is a possibility of some animals becoming infected through close contact with infected humans, and state that further evidence is needed to understand if animals and pets can spread COVID-19.  The OHS encourages concerned pet owners to regularly consult the websites for the WHO or the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association for the most up-to-date information.

The reality is that pets are being impacted by the social effects of COVID-19. Here are some tips to help us move forward keeping our families, including our pets, safe:

  • Create emergency care plans for your pets in advance, in case you require a sudden quarantine or self-isolation. Your plan should include things like having enough food (and medication if your pet requires it) and designate a family member or a friend to take on primary care-giving responsibilities.
  • Avoid walking your dog in busy areas and practice physical distancing. Short walks around the block, outdoor time in the back yard or indoor puzzles and games will help dogs burn off extra energy. Indoor games and toys (like laser pointers) can help keep your cat happy and occupied.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, where possible, enact your emergency care plan and immediately isolate yourself from your pets. If you are the only one in your household able to provide care for your pet and have tested positive, make sure you are washing your hands before and after each interaction.


Stay in Touch

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and check out our blog, where we’ll continue to share updates on how COVID-19 is impacting the shelter (and some adorable animal stories).

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we appreciate your support. We will provide further updates as we learn more.