A Message from our CEO, Tom Synder

Dear Supporters and Friends,

I hope you’re heeding the requests to stay at home as much as you can and that your pets are helping to make this challenging time less stressful. Since the story broke about Nadia, the Tiger in the Bronx Zoo who contracted the Covid-19 virus, we’ve seen a lot of anxiety from worried pet owners, and understandably so. The virus is new to scientists and the information about it seems to evolve weekly. The latest talking points from The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) around Covid-19 and our pets are reassuring.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others cause illness in certain types of animals.
Coronaviruses that infect animals can sometimes be spread to people, but this is rare.
We do not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now primarily spreading from person to person.
The first case of an animal testing positive for the virus in the United States was a tiger that had a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City.
We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States.
CDC is aware of a very small number of pets outside the United States to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19.
We do not have evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading the 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States.
Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

These points indicate there is very little threat of pets spreading disease to people or people to pets. That said, we continue to offer the following advice: Just as you’re limiting the number of people you personally connect with right now, you can limit who comes into contact with your pets. Also, if you or anyone else has the Covid-19 virus (or has displayed symptoms), they should wear a mask around pets and limit their contact with them (the same as you would with people). You can also bathe your pets with pet shampoo regularly to be additionally protective. Keep your pets at home, love them, care for them as best you can, and don’t abandon your four-legged kids because you fear they will infect you—that’s not what’s happening. If nothing else, they are keeping us healthy by lowering our blood pressure and making us smile.

Unfortunately, our little no-kill shelter on Ramon Road limits our ability to help pet owners with boarding. If we had the facility we are planning for the future, Animal Samaritans would be in a much better position to provide pet crisis boarding and help alleviate some of the worry pet owners are experiencing during the outbreak. However, as you know, our campaign for a new Pet Adoption & Humane Education Center was just getting underway before the outbreak struck. Rest assured, though, our time to renew our plans will return once we’re in the clear and life returns to normal.

If you or a loved one with pets has a compromised immune system or other underlying health conditions that make you more vulnerable to the effects of the virus, we encourage you to network with friends and family in the event you are unable to care for your pets and someone else needs to foster them for a while.
Speaking of fostering pets, I’m pleased to inform you that we are actively rebuilding our Pet Foster Program. We retained Autumn Corrow, one of our humane educators, to rebuild the program so that we can better meet the demand for pet fostering, especially with the pending arrival of homeless kittens coming. If you would like to become a part of our Pet Foster team and help save an animal’s life this season, please email Autumn at for program details or CLICK HERE to visit the foster page on our website.

Finally, a bit of housekeeping information that’s worth repeating: our no-kill shelter on Ramon Road is closed to the public, however, we are still adopting out pets by appointment. So, if you’d like to adopt one of the pets you see on our website, call our shelter at 760.601.3918 to make an appointment.

With regards to veterinary services, our Indio Clinic is currently closed and under expansion construction. If your pet needs essential services, we are seeing patients by appointment only at our Thousand Palms Veterinary Clinic. This means we are not offering any walk-in services at this time. For a list of essential veterinary services, please visit our website or talk to one of our schedulers. 760.343.3477
Be well and keep your people and your pets safe,


Tom Snyder
Animal Samaritans, CEO

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