The Santa Fe Animal Shelter will operate on a restricted basis, only accept new animal impounds under certain conditions, and will not conduct any releases for the next two weeks following an outbreak of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, according to a Wednesday afternoon press release from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Santa Fe Police Department’s Animal Services Division issued a similar notice.
This disease, the sheriff’s office said, can “spread rapidly among susceptible dogs housed in close confinement” and requires a two-week quarantine period.
“The Santa Fe County Animal Control Division will work diligently to assist the Santa Fe Animal Shelter to lessen the spread of this disease. We ask for your patience and understanding during this outbreak and quarantine as Santa Fe County and City Animal Control Services work to proactively prevent the spread of CIRD,”
Shelter Operations Director Dylan Moore tells SFR using the word “outbreak” in this case is inappropriate, however, given that two of 120 dogs have tested positive for the illness. Still, he says staff instituted the quarantine as a precaution.
“What we’re asking is to keep non-emergency intakes out of the shelter, which is following the best practices guidelines from basically every governing body over shelters and shelter medicine. In order to keep a couple of sick dogs from becoming a lot of sick dogs, you want to minimize the incoming population, and that allows us to better monitor our existing population,” Moore says.
CIRD has a relatively fast onset and a rapid cycle, he says, noting an animal typically gets sick about five days after exposure. The disease will run its course in about seven to 10 days, he adds.
In the meantime, the sick dogs are being housed in isolation wards to reduce the risk of the illness spreading. Moore says people can still visit the shelter to see cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.
“The disease is not zoonotic. It doesn’t jump to other species including humans, cats and rabbits,” he says.
Circumstances eligible for emergency intakes include: injured animals; animals that pose an immediate threat to public safety; animal bites (at an officer’s discretion); protective custody cases; bat inside a residence due to risk of rabies exposure; barking dogs that don’t result in impoundment; welfare checks that don’t result in impoundment; dead animals and trapped cats.
Animal services, however, will not respond to unrestrained animals running at large; injured animals with an owner present; or trapped dogs that do not pose a public safety threat.
“What we’re doing basically is adding a two-week length of stay for every dog in our care, which means two weeks more of shelter stress,” Moore says. “So any donations of things like treats, enrichment items, things that we can give the dogs that kind of brighten their day while they’re in kennels would be greatly appreciated.”