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catawba county animal shelter abuse

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Report: Animal Shelter With Mysterious Virus Was Overcrowded

Posted: 4:59 pm EDT August 26, 2010Updated: 5:48 pm EDT August 26, 2010

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. -- Inspectors found a severe overcrowding problem at an animal shelter that is temporarily closing and euthanizing about 200 animals, according to a report in March.Officials at the Catawba County Animal Shelter said an unidentified virus is forcing them to temporary close the shelter and euthanize all of the animals currently being held there.The animals, which officials said are primarily dogs and cats, will be euthanized during the next week, and the entire building will be sanitized in an effort to clear the shelter of the virus, which they said kills both cats and dogs and has thus far proved untreatable.According to the most recent reports, inspectors found that space in the shelter was an issue. At one point, inspectors found twice as many dogs and cats as the shelter was built to hold. Some of the spaces meant to hold one animal held five or six, inspectors said.The building is supposed to hold 78 animals, but last fall, inspectors said it held 181 dogs.“There's nothing you can really do,” Jay Blatche, the shelter’s animal services manager, said. “If you don't have the space, you don't have the space. The animals still have to be held, taken care of and watered.”Blatche said the shelter, which was built in 1985, has been overcrowded since he’s been there.Earlier this year, the state began requiring shelters to hold animals for at least 72 hours, which has added to overcrowding issues.The outbreak of an upper respiratory illness was first noticed about a month ago, Blatche said. He said they don’t know if the virus could be related to overcrowding.“We can't answer that right now because we don't know what the disease is,” he said. “We don't know if overcrowding was an issue or is an issue right now …. Everyone would definitely like to know.”Officials at the Catawba Humane Society said they not seen any evidence of the mysterious virus at their shelter and are still adopting out animals. The shelter has not received any pets from the Catawba Animal Shelter in the last month, officials said.Previous Stories: August 25, 2010: Unidentified Illness Forces Animal Shelter To Close

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