SAVANNAH, GA (May 7, 2013): An outbreak of upper respiratory illness has led to a 14-day quarantine of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department Animal Control Shelter.

The facility was placed on minimal 14-day quarantine today after an inspection this afternoon by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The inspection was requested by the Animal Control staff.

The upper respiratory issues were noticed by Animal Control officers in the outside kennels. The illness is common in shelters and animal facilities but the intake and adoption of animals must be halted during the quarantine period.

Shelter staff also will sanitize the facility during the quarantine period before reopening to the public for normal operations.

During this period, the public will have no access to the center and the intake of animals will be limited. Animal Control officers will be able to respond to emergency-based calls, but only owned animals impounded by officers will be allowed to leave the facility.

Animal Control officers continue to encourage residents to call with welfare concerns of any animal. But they are requesting the public’s help during this period, including the understanding of the procedures which must be followed. In addition, they ask the public to:
• Discontinue trapping of nuisance animals.
• Maintain any found animal, rather than delivering it to the center.
• Attempt to find homes or foster homes for all animals in any litter delivered. Animal Control will provide owners with names and contact information on various rescue organizations.

Upper respiratory is an airborne illness. It is not normally fatal and improves with treatment with no lingering effects. A single animal can spread it easily and quickly.

Pet owners can help animals avoid this common illness by keeping upper respiratory disease vaccinations current on a annual basis. This illness can spread in any common area frequented by animals, not just in shelter environments.