'Strep zoo' prompts shelter cleaning, foster families needed
HUNTING PARK - April 5, 2010 (WPVI) -- An infection problem has prompted the SPCA in Philadelphia to conduct a medicinal break from the past. The question is what does that mean for the futures of dozens of animals.Last month a Labrador housed at the shelter in Philadelphia's Hunting Park section died of an infection known as "strep zoo", the same illness that claimed the lives of six dogs at the same location last June.
So now the PSPCA is organizing a major scrub down for the shelter in the hopes of eliminating the disease and making a healthier environment for the dogs.
With the same strain of strep zoo dogging the shelter for a second year a major clean up is in store. Unlike a regular cleaning, for the "population break"-as they call it- the dogs will be removed from the shelter. All the surfaces will be de-greased and disinfected and then sit to completely dry. The process will take four days and then new dogs will move in.
"We are going to completely break the new population from the existing. Although it's possible they're not even sick, we don't want to take any chances by mixing the two populations," explained PSPCA Chief Executive Officer Susan Cosby.
The dogs that had strep zoo symptoms have already been treated with antibiotics.
When the cleaning kicks off some of the pups will be placed with animal rescue agencies and the rest will be moved to a large garage at their Erie Avenue facility. Of course as always they're hoping families will open up their homes to foster or adopt.
Some animal welfare groups are echoing the call to adopt. In a statement executive director Melissa Levy for Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society says: Rescue organizations are doing all they can, but it will not be enough. The public must be asked for help, and we believe they will respond with open hearts and homes.
Levy worries space constraints or poor conditions will lead to euthanasia in high numbers.
But not so says Cosby, who stresses even though euthanasia is necessary for population breaks in some smaller shelters, that's not the case here.
Cosby hopes to have the plan finalized by the end of this week. There are 150 in the shelter now but exactly how many dogs go to their facility on Erie avenue depends on how many different agencies or families take them in first.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, animals, local/state, katherine scott
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