ANIMALS

Fairfax County Animal Shelter suspends accepting new dogs

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FAIRFAX, Va. (WJLA) - The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is suspending the intake of dogs after a dog died of pneumonia and about a dozen were sickened by an apparent respiratory illness.

Staff say they are looking into whether the illness is canine influenza, which can be fatal, but does not infect humans. However, people can carry the virus from one dog to another on their hands or clothes. 

Sick dogs are being separated from healthy dogs, which can still be adopted.

“Lethargic, they don’t want to play, they’re sleepy. Just like when we get sick,” says Tawny Hammond, the director of the shelter. 

The staff is doing everything it can to keep the shelter clean and contain the virus. 

“These things happen because you’ve got a concentrated population of animals, just like with people. Think about daycare with children and schools,” Hammond says. 

Jackie Varacolli of Herndon is still ready to bring home one of the many dogs that have not shown signs of sickness.

“It happens,” she says. “They’ll see a vet and be fine.” 

Test results confirming the canine influenza cases will be available Tuesday or Wednesday.

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