CHICAGO (CBS) — If you had to go to the hospital because of COVID-19, what would happen to your pet?

The Anti-Cruelty Society along with Cook County, Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC), and the South Suburban Humane Society put together a countywide plan for the safe housing of animals for those who are hospitalized or quarantined.

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“Developing an area-wide safety net to provide access to emergency housing is important for people who need medical care for COVID-19,” said Thomas Wake, DVM, Administrator, Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.

Pet owners themselves are urged to get directives ready, in the event they have to get emergency care or find themselves caring for someone in crisis.

“We have had several people who did not make plans before being hospitalized and their animals were left without someone to care for them. Fortunately, we were able to get to the animals in time to assist, but it is extremely difficult to get access to care for animals after someone is hospitalized,” said David Dinger, Vice President of Operations at The Anti-Cruelty Society.

Recommended plans include:

*Identify caregivers for your pet if you become ill. Your pet is safest at home with you (even in quarantine.) If you are not at home, make sure to provide your pet caregiver with access to take care of your animals.

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*Make sure you have a two to three weeks supply of essential supplies at all times, including food, litter and medications for your animals. Getting these items together before it is needed will make care easier for whomever is taking care of the animal.

*Create an emergency kit, including providing caregivers with necessary contact information for veterinarians, a supply of food, pet care supplies, medications, a list of necessary medicines along with when they should be taken. The kit should also include vaccination records and any notes to help a caregiver.

For some, that help may not be enough. People who need emergency shelter assistance for their animals should do the following:

*Those living in Chicago can call 311 and ask for Animal Care and Control.

*People who live in Cook County but outside the city limits, can call Cook County Animal and Rabies Control at 708-974-6140.


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“We are fortunate to have quality animal sheltering alternatives and by emptying our shelters, we are prepared to help people care for their animals at a time of great need,” said Emily Klehm, CAWA, CEO of South Suburban Humane Society.