Friday, August 14, 2020

PAWS and the Coronavirus Pandemic

While many of us are checking up on the health and safety of our friends and family, the local non-profit animal shelter PAWS has been watching over our furry friends in the community. During the COVID-19 outbreak, PAWS has been ordered to close the Coronado Animal Care Facility to the public but they are still committed to taking care of Coronado’s orphaned, lost, or abandoned animals.

During normal times, PAWS has over 100 volunteers helping with animals in the facility. With the shelter-in-place, volunteers are no longer allowed at the facility and only essential employees go to work. PAWS President Teresa Leighty shared, “The staff are still there taking care of the animals, feeding and walking them.” However, at the beginning of the shelter-in-place PAWS “put a request out to the Coronado community for people willing to foster, and there has been a tremendous response. As a result, most of our dogs and cats are now in foster homes.”

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Lost puppy: A black/light brown Shepherd mix. This dog was found with a black collar and no tags. If you are the owner of this dog, please come to the Coronado Animal Care Facility (1395 First Street) to claim your dog.

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Each year over 500 animals are processed through the Coronado Police and PAWS, and they continue to receive animals during the COVID-19 outbreak. Even though fewer people are walking around Coronado and therefore less likely to find stray animals, the number of incoming pets has remained similar to normal times. On Saturday April 11, a good samaritan called the Coronado police regarding a Shepherd mix puppy wandering Orange Avenue near Chase Bank. The puppy is currently residing at PAWS waiting to be claimed before being put up for adoption. PAWS is also anticipating a potential increase in kittens as mid April is typically kitten season. When PAWS receives a litter of kittens, they make sure kittens are a certain age before they can be adopted. “When the kittens are first born, we will look for foster homes to put them until they grow older and can then go to PAWS to be adopted,” said Leighty.


While PAWS is not currently processing adoptions, the cats and dogs in foster homes will be eligible for adoption once the facility reopens. According to Leighty, “The biographies for each animal are still posted on the website. You can contact the adoption team members and they will tell you about the dogs and cats.” PAWS animals available for adoption include five adorable dogs in a variety of breeds. A sweet pair of bonded Chihuahuas, June and Cash, were found wandering Coronado together in November 2019 and are still waiting for their new Coronado family.

In the event there are any Coronado residents who are sick and unable to care for their pet, PAWS offers the PAWS Helping Paws program. If pet owners become too ill to care for their animals, PAWS will provide temporary housing to make sure pets are cared for while their owner recovers. Applications for the PAWS Helping Paws program can be found at

PAWS also encourages people to plan for the unexpected with their pets. Leighty recommended, “We want to encourage people to have a plan for their pets like having new medicine and food available for them.”

Like many organizations, PAWS is expecting some financial difficulties ahead as donations to nonprofits typically decrease when the economy is down. The Coronado community can support PAWS by voting in the Canine Mayor Race between now and May 31. The 2020 elections have 13 canine candidates running. Mojo, a German Shepherd, is currently in the lead campaigning on a platform of law and order but there are many close contenders. Each vote costs $1 and the money collected funds medical care for animals at the facility.  Once election results are calculated, the new canine mayor will be announced and inaugurated for their 2-year term in June 2020. Fortunately, all the Paw-liticians will be winners as the canine runners up are invited to join the Canine City Council. Another way the Coronado community can help is by donating items. PAWS volunteer CareyAnn Sutherland shared that, “Paws is run on donation. The community can help by donations of supplies, food, time, and monetary donations.”

2020 PAWS Canine Mayor Banner Poster

Coronado is fortunate to have a dedicated organization such as PAWS to provide for animals. Once the facility reopens be sure to visit PAWS to meet some of the amazing dogs and cats that could become your furever friend!


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Chloe Berk
Chloe has called Coronado home since she could walk or talk and considers herself a true Islander. She is currently a student at Coronado High School and a writer for the Islander Times. After studying and writing articles, she enjoys volleyball, the beach, and her newly-adopted dogs from PAWS.


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