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Posted on: April 9, 2020

Maricopa County Animal Shelters Continue to Save Lives

COVID-19 and impacted county services

Phoenix, AZ – The population at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) shelters is at its lowest level in recent memory as the organization continues to adjust operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the generosity of the Bissell Foundation and the overwhelming response of donors and the public, MCACC has dramatically reduced its shelter population by adopting out and finding foster placement for hundreds of dogs and cats. This unprecedented reduction in sheltered animals has afforded Animal Care and Control the opportunity to empty one of its locations entirely in order to complete much-needed repairs in preparation for what could be a very busy summer.

VIDEO: Animal Care and Control COVID-19 Update

“Although, we are heartened by the community’s support, we know there are many difficult days ahead of us,” said Mary Martin, director of Maricopa County Animal Care. “As a result, we have made several operational changes to ensure we are ready for whatever additional impacts we might see because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow us to safely continue offering shelter pets for adoption and rescue while modeling many of the National Animal Control Association’s recommended guidelines for shelter operations during this unpredictable time.”


The following is a list of temporary operational changes MCACC has implemented:

  • Shelter lobby occupancy has been reduced to a maximum of 10 people at a time to reflect social distancing guidelines.

  • Suspended in-person services: owner-surrenders of pets, licensing, vaccinations, cat intake and microchipping.

  • Continuing in-person services: adoptions, stray dog intakes, stray bite dog/cat intakes and Return To Owners (RTOs) to help reunite lost pets with their owners.

  • Adoptions and fosters have been moved to appointment-only services, using an online sign-up and revamped adoptable pets webpage. These tools have led to an increase of adopted pets and foster placements.

  • The “on-site” volunteer program has been temporarily suspended as of April 1 to limit the number of people inside the shelter. MCACC staff have been redeployed to assist in other areas of the shelter to ensure essential tasks, such as kennel cleaning, enrichment, and daily care of the animals are completed without interruption. Foster families are still being recruited and supported.

Learn more at maricopa.gov/pets.

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