State Ag Commissioner Mike Strain is asking Louisiana residents not to abandon their pets during the COVID-19 crisis and if you do get infected, to hand them over to friends or family.

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Strain says unless you absolutely cannot care for your pet, don’t turn it over to the state, or set it loose.

Strain requests that if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 that you allow a family member to care for the pet, and if no one is available to keep a safe distance from your pet while washing frequently.

If you are hospitalized and cannot find family assistance in housing your pet, call your local animal shelter or vet clinic.

If you receive a pet from an infected family member, Strain says you need to disinfect it by giving it a bath. Strain says wear gloves, a facemask, and immediately change your clothes after bathing the potentially contaminated pet.

These recommendations come from the American Veterinary Medical Association.