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Huntington County Humane Society closes due to illness

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@h-ponline.com

The Huntington County Humane Society (HCHS) has temporarily closed due to illness at the shelter.

According to a letter from Kaydee Small of the HCHS, there is currently an outbreak of an upper respiratory virus in cats and a strong strain of kennel cough in dogs being housed at the Humane Society.

“To ensure we do not continue to spread these illnesses, we will be closed until further notice,” the letter states. “We will be available by appointment only.”

The letter further states HCHS will be able to help wtih animal complaints and emergencies. To request assistance, contact central dispatch at 260-356-8316.

“If you find a stray animal during the time we are closed, please keep them as long as you possibly can,” the letter continues. “We also ask that if you are needing to surrender an owned animal, please keep them until we are back open.”

 The letter noted the illnesses spread quickly due to the small size of the facility. “Although we vaccinate all animals on entering the building, a never-before vaccinated animal can bring in these illnesses and spread to the whole building quickly,” it said. 

Due to the illnesses, emergency medical funds for the organization have been depleted by the medications needed to treat the animals, leading to the close.

Small said the organization is currently in need of donations of food, litter and bleach wipes.

“We clean every cage with our regular disinfectant, then clean it again with bleach,” she explained. “However, with the illnesses, we have been mixing the bleach stronger than usual, so we are going through our supply of bleach faster and having to buy it more often. Donations of items are much appreciated and can be left on the picnic table by the garage door.”

As of April 9, all the dogs in the building are no longer showing signs of sickness. However, 13 of 19 cats still are, and as such the building will need to remain closed until symptoms are no longer showing, Small said.

She explained that once there are no signs of illness, the building will need to stay closed for an additional 12 days to ensure it was out of the building. The Susan Dreyer Sharpe Memorial Dog Park has also been temporarily closed as a precaution despite low odds being estimated that pets at the park would be exposed.

“Our shelter has been open for 46 years and this is the first time we have ever had an illness cause us to close our doors for an extended period of time,” Small said. “Many shelters have this happen often, and we pride ourselves in the care we give our animals and try to maintain the best conditions for them.”

Small also noted it is currently unknown how the illnesses spread to animals in the Humane Society.