PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Animal Care and Control Team is desperately trying to clear its shelter of at least 70 dogs after canine flu ripped through its location in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia.
The nonprofit needs to create a second shelter temporarily to house dogs exposed to canine flu for up to a month.
Right now, they are isolating the sick dogs from intakes, but they're running out of space. By Monday, April 24, the shelter has to place at least 70 dogs ideally in homes without other dogs due to the flu.
The facility will then be disinfected.
The shelter will be completely closed for dog intake on Monday, April 24, and Tuesday, April 25 to allow for the dogs to be moved and the building to be cleaned.
ACCT Executive Director Sarah Barnett expressed the dire need, sharing the worst-case scenario: "I don't foresee us having to euthanize 70 dogs. Do I foresee some dogs having to be euthanized? Probably, but we're really trying hard to do what we can to get the dogs out before then."
ACCT takes in about 100 dogs a week. As the only intake shelter in the region, they take in every animal including an eight-foot alligator that was surrendered just Monday morning.
The community depends on the shelter.
"There's not another shelter that's going to be able to take them in, that can absorb that population. We need to be there for those dogs," said Barnett.
Donors have stepped up, now offering $400 gift cards for people who foster for a month.
Other area intakes are struggling with dog flu issues too.
ACCT is looking into other out-of-the-box ideas to create space.
"Someone has a trailer they can donate to house animals? We'll do that," said Barnett.
Here are several ways you can help:
How to help
The organization is seeking individuals who can foster a large dog (dogs over 40 pounds) for a month, and ideally don't have another dog. Thanks to a generous donor, individuals who foster for a month will receive a $400 Visa gift card at the end of the month, as other shelters across the country in similar positions have seen this work very well. Sign up to foster here.
All adoption fees have been waived for dogs over 40 pounds April 20th through April 23rd. Dogs are fully vaccinated, microchipped and spayed/neutered, and adopters will receive a free bag of food, a free vet exam and voucher for $250 of vet services, an offer for discounted pet insurance as well as virtual dog training through GoodPup. Please note dog meets with resident dogs are not possible due to exposure concerns. View animals up for adoption here.
This effort is not inexpensive, and ACCT is a nonprofit organization that relies heavily on donations to support this effort and all the other work it does year-round. Donations can be made online or mailed to ACCT Philly 111 W Hunting Park Ave Philadelphia PA 19140
Donate online here.