The Prince Rupert SPCA has been under quarantine for more than two weeks, and no one can say for certain when its doors will open again. If the infection has been eliminated, the shelter could begin taking in and adopting out animals again in 10 days, if not, it could be a lot longer.
Since the quarantine began the staff at the SPCA have had to keep a grueling cleaning schedule, which includes washing 60 animals in a solution of lime and sulfur every three or four days, washing the building from floor to ceiling with anti-fungal soap, and throwing away any other porous surfaces such as scratching posts, toys, mats, everything that the spores might be hiding on.
The SPCA staff has also been testing the animals to see if they are still infected.
“What we do is we take toothbrushes and we scrub their necks and their ears and then we put it in a plastic bag and then we put it on a gel and it grows. Whatever grow on the gel tells us what’s on the animal; like a Petri dish,” Anna Terebka, branch manager, said.
Since starting their cleaning regimen the shelter has sent out two batches of samples to Prince George to be analyzed; one went last week and the other was collected from the animals on Saturday. Before they can reopen both of those samples have to come back clean, if not, they have to stay under quarantine until they send out two batches that are. It takes the lab 10 days to analyze the samples, so the soonest the SPCA could open again is Oct. 3.
“If we get one positive, then we have to assume that every animal has it,” said Terebka.
The SPCA sent a second batch of samples already and collected the third batch from animals on Saturday. If the samples don’t come back clean the SPCA will stay closed until they do.
Staff are crossing their fingers that results are clean, not just for the animals, but because the quarantine is draining them dry financially. All of the $3,400 that they raised at their annual Paws for a Cause fundraiser this month has been spent on large amounts of expensive soaps and cleaners for the quarantine.
Just because the shelter is closed hasn’t stopped people from bringing in more animals though, and Terebka says that the shelter needs some families to volunteer to be foster homes for new animals until the can be admitted to the shelter. She also says that are in need of donations of bleach and towels as well.
The SPCA is also hosting a Quiz Night at the Moose Hall on Nov. 16 to help raise more money for its operations.