Some animal shelter, rescue, and humane society employees and volunteers have reported that they are uncomfortable traveling during Ohio’s Stay at Home COVID-19 order, effective March 24th, because they fear being pulled over by law enforcement without documentation about their activities.
While most law enforcement agencies do not seem to be aggressively questioning citizens, a letter explaining that animal care activities are exempt may help quell these fears.
Here is a sample which you may wish to review with your own legal counsel:
To Whom It May Concern:
Please be advised that _____________ is a current employee/volunteer at ABC ANIMAL RESCUE (the Rescue) located at ___________________. The Rescue is committed to taking responsible action to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including compliance with all orders from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH.)
The Rescue is aware of the “Director’s Stay at Home Order” issued by ODH requiring all persons to stay at home unless they are engaged in an “essential work or activity.” Paragraph 12(c) of that order specifically exempts “businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for animals, including animal shelters, rescues, kennels, and adoption facilities.” Furthermore, Paragraph 7 of the order permits travel for the purpose of providing “veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.” Finally, Paragraph 5(e) permits travel in order to provide care for and the transportation of pets.
The Rescue is an organization described in Paragraph 12(c) and is therefore exempt for the activities described above. The person named above is authorized by the Rescue to travel for the purpose of providing these essential services.
Please call _______________ if you have questions or concerns.