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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Humane Society is taking steps to protect its staff and the public during the coronavirus crisis and adding new services to pet owners affected by the pandemic.

The society has been way out in front of the coronavirus response, asking for foster care for animals starting in early March, and the reaction has been overwhelming.

 “We couldn’t believe we’ve had over 2,000 people wanting to foster,” Human Society CEO Dr. Gary Weitzman said.

The Humane Society has moved more than 60% of their animals out of shelters into homes, which allows them to safely reduce staff.

“We’ve change everything to make it safe for the public and staff that are here,” Weitzman said.

The organization has set up tents outside all three of its shelters so people can drive up and drop off strays, adopt pets and access other services. It is even accepting animals from families affected by COVID-19.

“We have about a half a dozen dogs here that belong to families where somebody has tested positive for COVID-19 and they need to do emergency boarding.”

 Four of those animals have since returned home to their families, Weitzman said.

With many pet owners dealing with the economic hardship of job layoffs, the Humane Society is also expanding its Paws Program.

 “We can provide food seven days a week between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.,” Weitzman said. “Pet food, supplies — we are not asking where you live — just providing food.”