TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Animal Friends calls demand for shelter 'unprecedented'

Daily Photo Galleries

Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 2:51 p.m.
 

Animal shelters in the Pittsburgh area are overflowing with fur.

Officials at Animal Friends in Ohio Township and the Animal Rescue League in Lincoln-Lemington said on Tuesday they are overwhelmed with animals, in part because the Western PA Humane Society suspended dog admissions for a month as the shelter deals with a potentially deadly outbreak of the canine distemper virus.

“We have five times more dogs waiting to be admitted right now,” said Ann Ensminger, Animal Friends' director of animal wellness. “It's simply unprecedented to be so full and have so many needing our help.”

The facility on Camp Horne Road, which has room for 250 animals, on Tuesday reported having 371 dogs, cats and rabbits.

The overflow forced officials to cancel a rescue event on Wednesday because they don't have room for new animals. Instead, Animal Friends staff and volunteers will take about 20 adoptable dogs Downtown between noon and 1:30 p.m. for a walk beginning at Market Square and ending at Point State Park with hopes of getting them into a home.

Animal Friends is a no-kill shelter. The Animal Rescue League does euthanize some animals, but only for poor health or temperament.

At the Animal Rescue League, officials are holding adoption specials and offering animals to foster families because they, too, don't have enough capacity to handle the influx of dogs. In addition to accepting animals that are brought in, the ARL accepts those taken in by the city's Bureau of Animal Care & Control.

The league took in 4,300 animals between Jan. 1 and June 30, including 1,036 in June alone. Since July 1, the shelter has taken in 254 animals.

“When you have a shelter (the Humane Society's) size that shuts down accepting dogs for a month, we're going to see it,” said Ann Yeager, a spokeswoman for the ARL. “They have to go somewhere.”

The Humane Society closed its doors to new admissions in early June when a dog adopted from the North Side facility was found to have distemper, a viral infection that can lead to death, spokeswoman Kristen Lane said.

“That is what triggered everything,” Lane said.

The Humane Society has isolated its dogs, sterilized the facility and expects to receive test results for a few dogs that have kennel cough — a possible symptom of distemper — by next week, Lane said.

“The biggest thing we are concerned about is the welfare of the other dogs in the community and at the other shelters,” she said. “We don't want to adopt any dog out that has been exposed, and we just can't risk having an outside dog in our shelter until after the (four to six week) contagious stage.”

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates top Cardinals, 5-2, on Davis’ homer; Alvarez, McCutchen hurt
  2. Dem Wolf eyes shale’s ‘golden egg’ to boost school funding
  3. For Steelers outside linebacker Jones, size is not an obstacle
  4. Elizabeth officials combat juvenile problems
  5. Indiana County township ‘afraid for the water’ fights waste well
  6. Steelers notebook: Team cuts 15 players, including LB So’oto, RB Hall
  7. Latrobe law firm’s secretary pleads guilty to income tax evasion
  8. Steelers cornerbacks Allen, Gay, Taylor have something to prove
  9. Mentor role suits Penn State lineman Mangiro
  10. Medical pot advocates state their case at town hall meeting with Sen. Folmer in Export
  11. Pittsburgh paramedics treat 38 people at Stage AE concert
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.