Riverside County animal shelters are returning to an appointment-only system in light of the surge in coronavirus cases, it was announced Wednesday.

Shelters reopened last month as emergency lockdowns were eased, but are once again stopping walk-up visits, with many services being handled online or over the phone.

“We believed it to be a great system and we’re going to continue that plan as we stay vigilant in protecting our employees and the public,” said Riverside Country Department of Animal Services Director Julie Bank.

Appointments for adoptions, surrenders and euthanasia can be made by calling Animal Services at 951-358-7387.

Would-be adopters are asked to view available animals online and have the animal ID number handy before calling.

Pet licensing can be done through the county’s online portal at www.rcdas.org/index.php/services/dog-licensing. Those without access to the internet can call Animal Services.

Anyone who finds a lost pet is urged to use social media to find the rightful owner before calling to make a found-pet appointment. To see if a lost pet turned up at a county shelter, visit www.rcdas.org.

Officials reminded the public that all emergencies should be reported to 911, and only routine animal control situations should be reported to Animal Services.

“We know these have been very stressful times for all families, not just our pet-loving families,” Bank said. “We appreciate how our adopters and visitors have adjusted with our new operations.”

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