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 have been implemented onsite to prevent the spread of germs.
  • The Shirley Kearns Memorial Adoption Centre is closed, and adoptions are suspended until further notice.
  • The intake of animals is being restricted to animals in distress only.
  • The incoming transfer of animals is suspended.
  • The number of animals placed in foster care has been increased.
  • 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.


  • Effective immediately, 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.

NOTE: All suspensions and cancellations are in effect until May 4, at which point we will review based on the situation.

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. As part of our emergency plan, we have begun to triage animals into foster care with current dedicated foster volunteers. Our dedicated team has responded very positively to the need. We may be in need of additional foster support over the next few months, 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.
  • We know that this crisis has placed financial strain on many families and businesses in our community, and it is placing strain on us. We continue to rely on donations from the community to fund the essential services such as shelter, life-saving surgery and medication that the OHS is providing throughout this public health crisis. If it’s within your means to make a donation, it would go a long way caring for the animals in our care.

I want to help!

What We Recommend You Do

The COVID-19 public health crisis poses many new challenges, especially for pet owners. Beyond the considerations of how to care for ourselves, we’re also learning how to live with pets while practicing social distancing, isolation or going into quarantine.

Tips for pet owners:

  • We’re encourage you to create emergency care plans for your pets, to ensure that they will be cared for during an emergency. Being quarantined or self-isolated can become a serious concern for pet owners who weren’t prepared. The plan should include things like having enough food (and medication if your pet requires it), and plans for your neighbours or family to care for your pets if you’re quarantined or no longer able to provide care.
  • We recommend that you avoid dog parks for the time being to practice social distancing. Short walk arounds the block, outdoor time in the back yard or indoor puzzles and games will help dogs burn off extra energy.
  • There is currently no evidence that companion animals can spread COVID-19 to humans or vice-versa. To learn more about COVID-19 transmission to pets, please read the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s statement on COVID-19 and visit Ottawa Public Health’s online resources. Contact your veterinarian to discuss any unique risks to your pet.

Ottawa Public Health guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • If you have respiratory symptoms, such as a fever or cough:
    • You must self-isolate for 14 days, or 24 hours after your symptoms have fully resolved, whichever is longer.
    • You must not leave your home.
    • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, please visit your nearest emergency department.
  • If you are returning from travel:
    • You must self-isolate for 14 days. Do not go to community settings, including the grocery store. If you need groceries or other essential items, have a family member, friend or neighbour get them for you and leave the items at your door.
    • If you have respiratory symptoms, follow the guidance in the section above.
    • If you do not have symptoms, practice physical (social) distancing as outlined below.
  • All Ottawa residents, except those listed above, should:
    • Practice physical (social) distancing.
      • Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick or have travelled within the past 14 days.
    • Avoid all non-essential trips in the community.
    • Cancel all group gatherings.
    • Connect via phone, video chat or social media instead of in person.
    • Talk to your employer about working from home, if possible.
    • Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
    • Avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres from other people when you go outside, like to take a walk.

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.