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Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter temporarily closed after several animals die from illness

Posted at 12:18 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 18:11:18-04

An unknown illness that claimed the lives of five young stray dogs prompted the closure of the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter Tuesday. The animal shelter won’t re-open until Thursday as volunteers and staff completely clean and disinfect the facility in hopes of stopping the spread of the unknown canine illness.

This is the first time the animal shelter had to close for this kind of outbreak, shelter administrator Mindy Naticchioni said.

“At this moment, we are making every effort to ensure our dogs stay healthy and safe,” said Naticchioni. “We will utilize this time to continue completing as thorough of a cleaning as possible to safeguard against any potential illness going forward. We hope to learn more about the reason for the tragic loss of these young dogs through our medical investigation efforts.”

The shelter will undergo extensive cleaning and sanitation during the time it is closed. This is the first time the shelter has ever been shut down due to any type of illness, officials said. 

The shelter’s veterinarian is now working with other specialists to determine what illness the dogs contracted. Closing the shelter for two days was a difficult but prudent decision, Naticchioni said.

The shelter is relying on its small army of dedicated volunteers who are cleaning every crevice of the building. Some mops, brooms, squeegees and leashes will have to be thrown away as a precaution. As of today, the shelter houses roughly 100 dogs.

Dogs that might be susceptible to illness are receiving extra attention. 

“You see the dogs getting out for walks. We want to make sure their routine stays the same and they’re doing healthy things but also we’re keeping a closer eye on them,” Naticchioni said.

The shelter should re-open on Thursday at its normal time.

Anyone looking for a lost animal can still visit the shelter during normal business hours.