Animal shelter reaches capacity after disease discovered
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control (ACC) on Tuesday issued an urgent appeal to the public to help foster and adopt dogs after their admissions kennel reached capacity following a infectious virus outbreak.
They said the assistance was essential to prevent the euthanasia of the dogs.
ACC veterinary staff performed routine testing for canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) pathogens in the dog population and found that the pneumovirus had been introduced into the shelter.
Officials said dogs they found to be infected were placed in a separate kennel from dogs ready for adoption.
However, as the virus is highly contagious, there are concerns about its continued spread and healthy dogs should be removed from the shelter.
The ACC said fostering or adopting a dog would reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to the shelter.
Terri Mersentes has volunteered at Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control for over eight years, helping save animals.
But right now, many dogs are sick as the virus outbreak continues to spread and more are dying.
“We say this to our entire community of volunteers that our hearts break every day,” Mersentes said.
The ACC must euthanize dogs with behavioral problems and others who are sick.
“You have to make tough decisions and no one wants to euthanize animals, especially if we know if those animals can have a live outcome,” said ACC Executive Director Dave Walesky.
About 20% of dogs in ACC have symptoms or are on treatment for pneumovirus.
“We have so many animals right now that it’s very difficult to manage this virus outbreak,” Walesky said.
Officials said dogs were constantly being abandoned due to the housing crisis in South Florida.
“People are forced to leave their homes and abandon their pets, unfortunately, because they have to move to a property that doesn’t allow other pets,” Mersentes said.
“We need the public’s help to get some of these animals out of here so we can control the pneumovirus,” Walesky said. “It is very urgent to get the animals out of here.”
If you are interested in helping, visit the shelter’s website to select a dog, then complete the adoption application and email it to the address on the form.
Once the application is submitted, you can come meet and pick up your new pet.
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is located at 7100 Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach.