Animal shelter set to reopen

The Catawba County Animal Shelter is expected to reopen today after a 13-day cleaning process to rid the facility of a deadly illness.

Catawba County Emergency Services Director Bryan Blanton will present an update about the shelter’s reopening Tuesday during the Catawba County Board of Commissioners regular meeting.

Catawba County Animal Services Manager Jay Blatche said Monday the sanitation process, which includes cleaning the building with bleach, antimicrobial agents and a pressure washer, is on schedule, and the facility is expected to reopen today.

The shelter is also undergoing some renovations, in addition to the cleaning procedures.

“The facility will basically be cut in half,” Blatche said.
A wall and a door will be constructed inside the shelter to create two distinct areas for animals.

Blatche previously told The O-N-E the animal shelter’s one-room design prevented officials from quarantining animals with illnesses away from other healthy animals within the shelter.

The shelter’s renovations are designed to separate healthy animals and animals with illnesses, as well as to prevent additional contamination.
The Board of Commissioners meeting, set for 9:30 a.m. at the 1924 Courthouse in Newton, is open to the public.

Catawba County officials decided to close the shelter, located off U.S. 321 near the Catawba County Government Center, on Aug. 25 for extensive sanitation following an increasing number of cases of a mysterious respiratory illness in the shelter’s cats and dogs.

All 200 animals housed in the shelter at the time of the outbreak were considered exposed to the virus, and animal shelter officials decided to euthanize the animals in an effort to control spread of the illness.

“One of the aspects of the illness that makes this so difficult is the fact that, after sanitation is complete, none of the animals that are in the shelter before we started sanitizing can be brought back into the shelter,” Blatche said in a press release Aug. 24.

Animals exposed to the virus exhibited high fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.