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What Does A Shelter Do? Euthanizing All Animals Was An Option


The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stopped their plan to euthanize over 300 animals, mostly cats, as a result of a ringworm outbreak.

When word got out locally in the media – some animal lovers protested by picketing, and a few animals were even stolen from the shelter – assumed to be better than their sure death.

While ringworm is a very treatable fungus (not really a worm at all). One problem is that it sticks around in the environment, which also requires treatment as much as the animals do.

So the shelter itself would require scrubbing and disinfecting. How does that practically happen with the animals there? Also ringworm is contagious to people as well as other pets. So not only are any other animals entering the system susceptible, so are the people who work at the shelter. Then they might bring ringworm home to their human and non-human family members. In people ringworm (except for those seriously immune compromised) is not particularly serious, but does require treatment. It should also be noted that not all people or animals exposed to ringworm get the fungus. Still, there’s a liability issue for a shelter this far into the hole if they allow people in and the fungus out.

So, what does an animal shelter do? Originally, the OSPCA decided to euthanize and then clean.

The only way to thoroughly clean and disinfect is to empty the shelter first. Of course, the thought of euthanizing so many is horrifying. Probably the problem should have been dealt with far earlier, and sometimes is spread more easily when animals are stressed.

Shelter medicine isn’t for sissies. The OSPCA reconsidered their original decision to euthanize as a result of public pressure.  After killing about 100 animals, it seems the remainder will be spared. Here’s the latest update.  

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