As COVID-19 emergency restrictions are revised, the Mineral Wells Animal Shelter today is returning to normal operating hours with protocols in place to protect animals and employees.

The shelter is now open to handle animal calls, adoptions, animal surrenders, retrieving animals, microchipping and all other services during our normal business hours, said shelter coordinator Kim Cochran Marinaro. The shelter is located at 101 FM Road 2256 at U.S. Highway 281 South.

"Because the COVID-19 virus remains a threat, and we want to protect the public, ourselves, and the animals at the shelter, we are adjusting our protocols to reduce exposure to the virus," said Marinaro. "To this end, we will be emphasizing social distancing and hygiene. We ask your patience and cooperation."

Direct all animal complaints and welfare checks to the Mineral Wells Police Department at 940-328-7770. They will dispatch an animal control officer or a police officer as needed.

All animal drop-offs, adoptions, and/or pick-ups are by appointment only. When arriving at the shelter, call to let staff know you are there. The number will be posted outside. You are asked to remain in your vehicles until greeted by a shelter staff member.

Staff are required to wear masks during all interactions with the public and visitors are encouraged to do the same. Due to the identified potential of COVID-19 transmission to animals, staff, volunteers and visitors, staff use hand sanitizer before, after and during the handling of every shelter animal.

Marinaro said staff will handle as much business as practicable in the shelter's parking lot or on the front porch. Only one visitor will be allowed into the shelter at any time. Social distancing will be followed inside and outside of the shelter. Masks will be available for visitors upon request.

If you find an animal and want to foster it, send an email to animalshelter@mineralwellstx.gov. Include your contact information, a description of the animal (species, sex, color, approximate age and any other relevant information) and where you found it. The information will be posted to the Mineral Wells Animal Shelter's page on Facebook.

"We will continue posting animals brought into the shelter on the Mineral Wells Animal Shelter page on Facebook," Marinaro said. "If you want to see, or adopt the animal, call us first during regular business hours. We will try to set up a video messaging conversation in which you can see the animal. If you still want to adopt the animal, set up an appointment at the shelter. If possible, we will bring the animal out to meet you."

The shelter is also seeking volunteers. Each volunteer will be limited to a maximum of two hours per day and four hours per week. Only two volunteers may be present and assisting inside of the shelter per day. As with staff members, volunteers will be required to wear masks when members of the public are present inside of the shelter or other public interaction on the shelter premises.

"We know your time is valuable and we are grateful for your generosity," Marinaro said. "Please call ahead so that we can make best use of your time."

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