(TMZ) — The coronavirus pandemic is negatively impacting almost everyone in the world, but on the bright side — people are looking for furry friends to keep them company during these social distancing days … especially families with kids and the elderly.
TMZ spoke with people who run animal shelters across the country, and though they are experiencing challenges like everyone else … the good news is animal lovers are coming in big numbers to adopt and foster pets.
Nikole Bresciani — CEO of the Inland Valley Humane Society in Pomona, CA — tells us … meeting pets and adoptions are by appointment only now and all applications are online as COVID-19 precautions, but folks are still reaching out.
In fact, Nikole says with kids being home from school, there’s been an uptick in families reaching out about adding a cat or dog to their lives … and more scheduled appointments are on the books for the upcoming week.
The same goes for senior citizens. Randa Richter of SPCA Florida tells us … they’ve seen at least a 20 percent increase in elderly people looking to adopt a pet because their normal social activities — like Bingo — are all canceled. So, Randa says they want a furry friend to pass the time with at home.
Like Nikole, Randa says there’s also an abundance of families with children home from school looking to get the kids out … so they go visit the pets up for adoption and often end up taking them home. Same goes for a couple with no kids working from home, who now want to add another member to their household … but not a kid.
On top of this, Randa tells us they’ve had a huge rise in volunteers — mostly high school kids who can earn credit for volunteering and now have much more free time, and seniors. The volunteer work includes walking dogs, kitty care and cleaning the facilities.
Finally, Jack Hagerman of the Pasadena Humane Society SPCA tells us … even though it has shut its physical doors to limit staff and the public to coronavirus exposure, it hasn’t closed up shop, and the community has stepped up in a big way to find foster homes for all its animals.
Jack says they’ve had more people than ever — 368, which again includes families with kids and the elderly — reach out and offer to foster animals in need now that it has closed.
Jack says it currently has 180 animals including dogs, cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, and even baby squirrels, and fortunately … so many people are at home and happy to help. He tells us he hopes the foster pets will all find forever homes soon, especially during these trying times.
It would be a win-win for everyone … and that’s desperately needed right now.
Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions
(TMZ) — It’s becoming more clear by the day that wet markets are NOT just a China problem — it’s an American problem too … just take a look at these latest clips from Texas and California.
TMZ has gotten a hold of even more graphic videos of two different live animal shops in TX and CA — where people pick out the animal, have it slaughtered on the spot and then sold to them right then and there — and you see the mixed-in livestock runs the gamut.
There are pigs in pens, goats and sheep hoarded together … and, of course, as we’ve seen in New York and elsewhere — chicken and rabbits cooped up in cages — all in the same area within earshot of each other, and all getting butchered.
Ya got pigs hanging from hooks out in the open, chicken beaks, feathers and guts all over the floor and in an exposed trash can — this while customers (including kids) come in and browse the freezer for whatever cuts of meat they want. It’s downright dirty and gross.
As we’ve been told by the experts, these one-stop-shop slaughterhouses/storefronts can be breeding grounds for disease — including new viruses, like COVID-19, which supposedly got started at a wet market in China.
We already know of lawmakers in Cali and New York working to get these things shut down, but it’s pretty apparent there needs to be federal legislation rolled out to address this. Can’t call the kettle black when we’re swimming in the freakin’ pot.
Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest ‘Rona Rate
FORT WORTH (TMZ) — The prison Joe Exotic is currently being held at is the second leading hotbed for coronavirus in the entire federal prison system — but not to worry … Uncle Sam’s got a plan.
The ‘Tiger King’ star has been locked up at FMC Forth Worth in Texas, and as of Tuesday … there was a total of 298 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates, making it number 2 behind a federal CA facility at 570 inmate cases.
If that sounds troubling, it should … we’ve seen jails and prisons across the U.S. getting besieged with the virus — and some of the inmates are suffering. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has assured us they’re going above and beyond for their prisoners, staff and visitors alike at Joe’s facility to keep them safe and healthy.
As for Joe … his people have repeatedly told us … he’s virus-free.
The agency tells TMZ there’s a comprehensive action plan in place at all of their institutions — which includes reducing inmate transfers, increasing screening and testing, minimizing unnecessary movement on the inside and temporarily canceling social and legal visits, not to mention training for BOP employees. They will also do regular temperature checks.
The trick is … as little congregating as possible. BOP says it’s trying to keep guards at one post for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary interaction.
BOP also tells us they’ve made sure everyone — prisoners and staffers — have received surgical masks. BOP says it has things under control — so far fewer than 5 deaths at the Fort Worth facility … but with nearly 300 cases, it’s gotta be viewed as a full-fledged outbreak.
So … guess that means Joe’s in good hands??? Here’s hoping so.
Dolphins Still Putting on Show in Japan without Spectators
JAPAN (TMZ) — Move over LeBron James … while pro sports leagues are trying to figure out when they can return to action, some dolphins are way ahead of ’em.
These photos are from Hakkeijima Sea Paradise’s special dolphin show Thursday in Yokohama, where they had zero spectators due to the coronavirus quarantine guidelines there.
Animal trainers still did their thing, though, with dolphins and a beluga whale putting on quite a show — despite lacking a crowd of oohing and ahhing humans. Let’s keep it real … the animals are in it for the food.
The show wasn’t just a dress rehearsal … the aquarium videotaped the performance and aired it on the web for folks to watch safely from home.
Makes ya wonder … do the animals feel differently performing without a crowd? Or, is it just a little closer to being in the wild without a loud pack of humanity watching ’em? We sure hope so.
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This Just In…
- Petition Circulating to Ask Judge to Keep Ed Buck in Jail
- RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic
- Koretz Won’t Back ‘Uplift Melrose’ Plan
- Man Sentenced for Hit-and-Run Death of Pedestrian on Sunset
- Beverly Grove Man Charged for COVID Relief Loan Fraud
- County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family
- Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day