Franklin County Dog Shelter battles rashes from respiratory infections

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Dog shelters in central Ohio and across the country are over capacity. Overcrowding makes it easier to spread disease, and the Franklin County Dog Adoption and Shelter Center is experiencing a rash of upper respiratory infections.

“We’re dealing with upper respiratory issues that we’ve never seen before,” said shelter manager Kaye Persinger.

Franklin County commissioners recently approved spending $80,000 to help eradicate infections.

“We’re very, very lucky to have commissioners who give us a budget that allows us to send all of this to a lab to find out what we’re dealing with so we can process it effectively,” Persinger said.

The lab tests are an extra cost, Persinger said, but they save the lives of the shelter dogs.

The county money will also help replenish the shelter’s PPE supply, which volunteer Catrina Schwyn said they’ve been through a lot lately.

“Let’s say if I walk a sick dog, even changing PPE, spraying our shoes, washing my hands, whatever we can do to try not to contaminate the dogs,” Schwyn said.

Even with the extra funds, Persinger said it remains to be seen if the extra testing capacity will be enough to curb this outbreak.

“We’ve reached out to the United States Humane Society and the ASPCA and they’re seeing it in other places as well. Just things we haven’t seen before,” Persinger said.

The shelter can house approximately 200 dogs comfortably. Currently, they have around 230, with many more animals in foster care.

“Thank goodness we have 200 families ready to take them in because these dogs have a really excellent chance of overcoming this, you know you’re in a home outside of this shared community that we have here,” Persinger said.

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