Gwinnett Animal Shelter closed immediately due to illness

Animal lovers in Gwinnett, take note: the County’s animal shelter was shut down today and will be closed for at least 3 days.

In the past two weeks, dogs at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter have been getting very ill, very rapidly.  The dogs were happy and playful one day and the next day they appeared extremely sick.  Their symptoms are coughing, sneezing, and mucous coming from the nose.  One dog has died as what appears to be a result of the illness.  The Director has contacted the University of Georgia: College of Veterinary Medicine to determine exactly what has been causing the dogs to be sick.

After consulting with the Department of Agriculture, the director of the Animal Shelter decided to shut down the shelter for a voluntary self-quarantine until the illness can be determined.  This illness is being described as a serious upper respiratory illness.

The testing at UGA will take approximately 4 days.

No animals will be allowed into the shelter and nothing will be allowed to leave.  As of April 10, 2015 at 2pm, the shelter was closed to the public and will remain this way until further notice.  Temporary shelter is being set up at an alternate location for the continuation of services provided by dispatched Animal Control Officers.

The shelter is busy contacting every adopter, owner reclaim and every rescue that has taken an animal in the last two weeks.  These people will be asked to keep their dogs separated from all their other dogs in the home.  If their newly adopted dog or reclaimed dog begins to show any of the symptoms mentioned above, the director recommends that the owner take it to the veterinarian immediately.

Here are the answers to questions that may be asked:

Q:        Was this a state-mandated quarantine?

A:        No.  This was a voluntary quarantine (closure) decided on by the Animal Control director.

Q:        How long will the shelter be shut down? 

A:        The shelter will be shut down for at least 4 days.  Once the results come back, we will consult with the state veterinarian and the Department of Agriculture for their recommendations.

Q:        Does this illness affect humans?

A:        No.

Q:        Does this illness affect other types of animals?

A:        No.  This illness only affects dogs.

Q:        How many dogs have been affected by this illness?

A:        Approximately 5 dogs have shown signs of this same illness.  This number may rise because it is showing to be highly contagious within dogs.

Q:        How many dogs are currently at the facility?

A:        There are approximately 150 dogs at the shelter.

Q:        What is going to happen to the cats at the shelter?

A:        The cats will be released to an animal rescue group on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

Q:        How many adoptions, re-claims, and rescue pick-ups occurred within the past 2 weeks?

A:        There have been 52 dogs adopted, 41 dogs picked up from a rescue group, and 41 dogs re-claimed by the owner.

Q:        When was the last time the shelter was shut down due to an illness?

A:        The last time the shelter was shut down was approximately 7 years ago due to a Parvo outbreak due to state mandate.

Q:        What about lost pets?

A:        If you are looking for a lost pet, please visit www.helpinglostpets.com.  This will be monitored by shelter staff.

Q:        What if I find a pet while the shelter is closed?

A:        Please contact www.helpinglostpets.com for further.

Until testing is completed and this illness has been identified, this will be the most accurate information we can provide at this time.

If you need further assistance, please contact animalwelfare@gwinnettcounty.com.  This email will be monitored throughout the weekend.

Author: Jason

Jason Brooks is the owner and editor of Grayson Local. A resident of Grayson for over 14 years, he loves the Grayson community and the potential it holds. A former pastor, Jason now works as a freelance writer. He has written for The John Maxwell Company, North Point Ministries, The Ford Motor Company, Catalyst, and several regional magazines as well. You can follow Jason on Twitter (@JasonMuses).

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