There's been another outbreak of strep zoo at PSPCA’s Hunting Park Avenue shelter (or last year's outbreak, which happened alongside an outbreak of canine influenza, was never fully eradicated as recently indicated by PSPCA).
This is an emergency. Every minute counts toward how many dogs will ultimately die as a result of the outbreak.
An average of 25 homeless dogs are dropped off at the shelter every day. There are only two outcomes: a dog is either processed, vaccinated, funneled out to a rescue organization then adopted (or adopted right out of the shelter), or they are euthanized.
The current outbreak and the subsequent, highly unorthodox emergency plan does not bode well for the direction most dogs in the shelter will go. See more details below in the appeal that Melissa Levy, executive director of local rescue PAWS, sent out to rescues and volunteers earlier today.
PSPCA plans to implement a "population break," which means emptying the infected shelter for a scrub-down. Since a recent email from PSPCA CEO Sue Cosby indicates that last year’s four-day population break was ineffective because it wasn’t enacted for a full seven days, we can only assume the population break this time around would then be for a full seven days—though the Inky reports that the plan is for two days.
PSPCA plans to pack the dogs into crates and stack them in "temporary emergency housing in the garages at the Erie Ave. facility," according to an email sent from PSPCA to their network of volunteers and rescues.
Curiously, OK, more like mind-blowingly, despite announcing that the population break would require a “Herculean effort,” PSPCA has not levied their significant public-relations efforts toward a public plea begging animal lovers to adopt or foster dogs, despite the situation being so urgent that dogs will be crated and stacked in a garage. (Meanwhile, their in-house PR rep regularly blasts media with press releases trumpeting their efforts on the cruelty side of animal welfare).
Rescues will step up where they can, certainly, but the economy still sucks and regional rescues are always strapped and overburdened. Adoptions need to kick into high gear if there’s any hope of these dogs surviving.
A copy of the alert Levy sent earlier this afternoon:
Dear fellow animal lovers:
This is a desperate plea on behalf of Philadelphia's homeless dogs. Roughly 150 dogs in the city's animal control shelter are about to be moved from one dangerous situation into another. As you may have heard, persistent disease at the shelter (111 W. Hunting Park Avenue) is prompting the PSPCA to embark on a full evacuation and deep cleaning of the facility later this week. At that time, every dog will be moved into an un-airconditioned garage at the PSPCA's Erie Avenue location and housed in training and travel crates. They will live in those crates until they are rescued, fostered, adopted, or euthanized. They will not be returned to the animal control shelter. At the same time, all new stray and unwanted dogs coming in will be routed to the garage and placed in crates as well. Currently, animal control takes in about 25 dogs per day. That is approximately 300 dogs that need to be adopted, fostered, or rescued in the next six days to avoid being euthanized or held indefinitely in crates.
The PSPCA does not intend to euthanize these dogs on any larger scale than normal (more than 40% of all dogs are normally euthanized). But the temporary housing - crates in a garage - is far from ideal for any dog, let alone for large, scared, and stressed dogs that make up much of the animal control population. Many dogs have behavioral or medical conditions that will simply not be manageable in the temporary setting. Sending them there will be a death sentence. Increased killing is inevitable unless these dogs leave quickly and in very high numbers.
Rescue organizations have been asked to step-up their efforts to get more dogs out. But rescues already take as many dogs on a daily basis as they possibly can. The only way dogs will get out in any significant numbers is if the public comes forward to help. Please open your home to a dog who desperately needs you, and implore everyone you know to do the same. You can adopt a dog permanently or provide a temporary foster home. Either way, you will be saving two lives: the dog you take into safety, and the dog who will use the vacancy. There are dogs of all sizes, breeds, temperaments, and conditions; the lifesaving staff at animal control will help you find a good match. Every life makes a difference.
The rescue effort must begin immediately to reduce the number of dogs that will be placed in temporary housing, and it must continue once the dogs are relocated to the garage to minimize the time they must stay there and the number of dogs who will be killed.
The lifesaving staff and volunteers at animal control are working around the clock to get these dogs out of the shelter and into safety. Therefore, if you are able to provide a home for a dog in need, please go directly to the animal control shelter (111 W. Hunting Park Avenue) or to the PSPCA's Erie Avenue location (350 E. Erie Avenue) during regular business hours. A staff member will help you save a dog that is right for you. Both locations are open seven days a week. The staff does not often have time to respond promptly to phone or email inquiries, but if you need to email in advance, you can contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please forward and distribute this urgent plea as widely as possible; the more people who know what is going on, the greater the number of dogs that can be saved. Please do all that you can. They won't make it without you.
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