Fulton, DeKalb offering free dog adoptions for the next week

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Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, there have been reports of some pet owners with the virus who have relinquished their pets to shelters. The World Health Organization says there is no evidence dogs and cats can become infected with the coronavirus. Many types of viruses, including the common cold, can’t be spread between pets and people. Dogs and cats have different cell receptors than humans. The CDC says there have been no reports of animals in the U.S. having coronavirus. It’s still a good idea to wash your hands after petting your pets, though, vets say. (Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@gmail.com)

Preparing for the “worst-case scenario” during the coronavirus pandemic, public animal shelters in Fulton and DeKalb counties are offering free dog adoptions through next Friday, March 20.

LifeLine Animal Project, a nonprofit that handles animal services for both counties, “is taking steps to ensure that their shelter animals are cared for in case of an emergency and are also urging pet owners to have emergency plans in place for their pets,” the organization said in a statement.

LifeLine is trying to get as many animals as possible out of the shelters in case staffing has to be reduced or the shelters have to close to the public and cease adoptions due to coronavirus concerns.

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The free adoptions include spay/neutering, microchipping and vaccines, and are available at any of LifeLine's shelters. Visit LifeLine's website for the locations and hours of the shelters, and to see pets that are up for adoption.

The organization is also expanding its cleaning protocols, cleaning facilities several times a day.

For pet owners who might fall ill, LifeLine is urging them to have plans in place for someone to take care of their animals.

For the record, there is no evidence that dogs or cats can contract the coronavirus, the World Health Organization said.