BRIDGEWATER — Town Manager Michael Dutton, Health Agent Eric Badger, Police Chief Christopher Delmonte and Fire Chief Thomas Levy seek to continuously update residents on local preparedness efforts and impacts from the ongoing nationwide novel coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Town of Bridgewater will be following the guidance and recommended protocols of the National Animal Care and Control Association.
For the safety of the town’s Animal Control Officer (ACO) and the Bridgewater Police Department’s mutual aid partners, the Town of Bridgewater will take all measures to mitigate the short and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures include protecting ACOs properly to reduce risk of spreading the virus, as well as working to manage and minimize the number of new animals entering shelters. As members of the public safety community ACOs have an obligation to perform their sworn duties during disasters, both natural and human-made. To that end, the Town will adopt the following temporary policies:
High priority/emergency calls
At this time, ACOs will continue to respond to emergency and high priority calls. High priority/emergency calls include law enforcement assistance, injured or sick stray animals, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, and dangerous and aggressive dog complaints.
Non-emergency calls and activities:
ACOs will suspend low priority/non-emergency activity. This may include non-aggressive stray animal pick-up, leash law and licensing complaints, barking and nuisance complaints, trapping and transport of community cats, and conflict mitigation scenarios.
Shelter intake reduction:
ACOs should take active measures to reduce non-essential shelter intake. Measures taken should include returning pets in the field instead of impounding them, suspending non-emergency owner surrender intake, and encouraging owners who are ill to keep their pets at home whenever possible.
Personal protective equipment:
ACOs should be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) for cases requiring a response to a location with someone who is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19.
ACOs will generally not enter homes with the exception of high priority/emergency calls. If a home of a COVID-19 patient or person exhibiting symptoms, , the ACO will only enter if outfitted with appropriate PPE.
For ongoing information, please continue referring to all updates from the Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
The COVID-19 public health situation changes rapidly. Therefore, this guidance is subject to change. This policy is an effort to prioritize the health and safety of animals and the people who are charged with their care.
The Town, in coordination with our Animal Control Officer and Animal Inspector, will update this post as new and relevant information becomes available.