UPDATE: Humane Society Working To Return To Normal

By: Shannon Houser, Erin Pulsanti Email
By: Shannon Houser, Erin Pulsanti Email

UPDATE: November 9th, 2011 9:23 PM

It's been over two weeks since the outbreak of a viral infection at the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley but officials say they believe the worst is over.

Officials at the shelter say last month a cat carrying feline distemper was placed in the shelter and infected many of the other cats.

Since then, the Humane Society has not allowed adoptions or accepted cats into the facility. Rachel Leopold, the staff supervisor at the shelter, says she believes the worst of the outbreak is over.

"Right now we are bouncing back and have 16 cats ... they are all doing well," Leopold says. "We think that the worst has passed and now we are just cleaning, and painting, and making sure that we have scrubbed every nook and cranny to make sure that this doesn't happen again."

Leopold says the shelter needs cleaning supplies like newspaper, powdered laundry detergent, unscented bleach and hand sanitizer for the continued cleaning.
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UPDATED: October 26, 6:30 PM

Many cages sit empty at the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley in Marietta this week-- after an severe viral outbreak has infected many of their cats.

"What we believe we're dealing with right now is a stronger strand of the calici virus, and what that does is that most of the cats get a shot to protect them against this strand of virus but this being a mutated strand they're trying to come up with a better vaccination for it," explains the manager of the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley, Steven Herron.

Herron, says that unfortunately they received a cat with this strand of the virus and it has spread quickly through their cats in the last two weeks.

He explains the cat was accepted due to the virus being undetectable and showing no symptoms- until it's too late. Herron says when the symptoms do occur the cats get an upper respiratory infection and become lethargic but says even then there is still little to be done.

"So some of them we're being able to catch early but with no luck of being able to save them because there's nothing that can help them at this point," says Herron.

Officials from the shelter say they are not allowing any cats to go in or out of the facility to avoid spreading the deadly virus. Having no cure for the virus, they have separated the cats in an attempt to keep a better eye on some and keep the virus isolated. Herron was quick to note that those who have adopted from the Marietta shelter should be not alarmed since it has only happened in less than two weeks.

"So anyone that has adopted cats and they're acting fine," says Herron. "We're assuming that everything is going to be okay because most of the cats that are showing signs of it or have have been infected by it have it's happening in a 24 hour process, its happening very quickly."

Officials from the Parkersburg Humane Society say they have not been effected by the virus at this time and as always-- are evaluating every cat that comes into the facility.

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According to The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley Director, Steve Herron, they are working to get the situation under control but cannot bring more cats into what could be a deadly environment.

Herron adds they cannot in good conscience adopt out cats that may or may not be infected with this virulent strain of the calici virus.


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