INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Animal Care Services, or IACS, is suspending all animal intake after officials say a bacterial strain was identified inside the shelter.
IACS announced Wednesday afternoon that, “out of an abundance of caution,” the shelter has suspended animal intake. The decision was made after the bacteria strain “streptococcus equi zooepidemicus,” or strep zoo, was found inside the facilities, IACS said in a news release.
“Staff began providing animals in IACS care with antibiotics on Sunday, October 1, and samples were sent to Purdue University for testing,” IACS said.
IACS said Wednesday that, “under the advice of shelter medicine experts,” the shelter will resume animal intake on Monday, Oct. 9.
The group added that animals being treated with antibiotics will still be eligible to be adopted during the suspended intake. Anyone interested in adoption must sign a waiver before becoming eligible, IACS said.
“IACS is coordinating with animal welfare partners to triage animals that might otherwise have come to the shelter during this time,” the release concluded.
When FOX59/CBS4 asked IACS about whether any animals had died as a result of the bacteria, Chief Communications Officer Kurt Christian provided the following response:
“Full necropsy results are still pending, but it is likely that this was the cause of death of the two dogs that were sent to Purdue.” – IACS
Other local shelters that FOX59/CBS4 spoke with on Thursday said that this bacteria strain is not a common occurrence and that it is one of the worst respiratory illnesses in dogs.
“This is a serious bacterial strain that we are giving the appropriate attention to and looking for those symptoms and anything above and beyond that may seem out of the ordinary,” Christian said Thursday. “Even if it’s presented as lethargy. We’ve got a dog that’s normally energetic that isn’t acting that way, those are early indications of an immune system kicking into high gear to fight whatever it may be, and we want to give special credence to that as we deal with this specific bacterial strain.”
Symptoms of the respiratory illness, experts said, include coughing, nasal discharge, labored breathing and sometimes vomiting.
In recent months, both IACS staff and animal care advocates have been vocal about how Indy’s shelter services are in crisis.
In September, former and current IACS volunteers spoke with FOX59/CBS4 and claimed that the shelter was in a grave situation. The report, which included allegations of overcrowding, rampant euthanasia and unfair adoption practices, can be read here.