BRUNSWICK – The Coastal Humane Society announced Friday it will close for 28 days, at the recommendation of the Maine Animal Welfare Program, as a precaution to deal with a limited case of ringworm in a group of dogs rescued from out of state.
“While just five puppies are symptomatic, the state has recommended closure of the facility for the last two weeks of August and first two weeks of September,” the news release from the Coastal Humane Society states.
Ringworm is a treatable fungal infection akin to athlete’s foot and is not uncommon in animal shelters, according to the news release. The humane society stated in its release that Maine is one of the few states that recommend closure in the case of ringworm, while other states require ringworm-positive animals remain isolated from other populations in the facility.
“This news is particularly disappointing to the staff and volunteers of the shelter, which was competing in the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ $100,000 Challenge, a nationwide competition to save the lives of more shelter animals,” the news release stated.
The shelter voluntarily follows strict medical and transportation protocols implemented by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. But despite that, the humane society stated, five puppies rescued from a shelter in Alabama, where they were scheduled to be euthanized, showed symptoms of ringworm after being at Coastal Humane Society for a week, indicating they contracted the infection while at the Alabama shelter.
Coastal officials said they are optimistic no other animals will become infected. Since the infected animals arrived at Coastal Humane on July 18, animals adopted from the shelter prior to that date run no danger of being infected. It is also unlikely other adopted animals were infected, because the traffic pattern of animals throughout the shelter is maintained and regulated so that as few animals as possible are exposed to infection. In an abundance of caution, however, the shelter is setting up a Coastal Information Hotline for interested or concerned animal lovers and owners. If you wish to use the hotline, call 725-5051, ext. 15.
Ringworm closures are costly, and the shelter is seeking support to cover expenses for testing the animals in the shelter and replacing any pet items that need replacement, such as bedding. To contribute to Coastal’s efforts, call 449-1366, ext. 4, or donate online at coastalhumanesociety.org.
Anyone who would like more information on this common fungus can visit the ASPCA at www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/ringworm or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/ringworm.html.