Letter: Health and safety of animals, customers is No. 1Here at the Humane Society the health and safety of the animals in our care, our customers, and the public are our top priorities.
By: Anna Ostendorf, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Here at the Humane Society the health and safety of the animals in our care, our customers, and the public are our top priorities. Therefore, it has been extremely disheartening to all of us here to know that illness was associated with a fun event we held in our shelter.
When several Humane Society staff members became ill we assumed that we had all caught the same virus. It wasn’t until more than two weeks after our March 31 petting zoo, long after all of us had recovered, that we found out our illness was likely caused by cryptosporidium and that others who attended the zoo also had been ill.
We follow a very thorough cleaning protocol at the shelter using strong bleach solutions and cleaners specifically made to work against animal diseases, but unfortunately, as we discovered, cryptosporidium is very resistant to bleach and many other chemicals.
Several of our animals tested positive for cryptosporidium after the event. Of those animals, few showed any symptoms and all appear healthy now.
However, it is still possible for them to shed the parasite in their stools for up to five weeks. To prevent any further spread of cryptosporidium we have closed our animal rooms off to the public and our staff is using strict isolation methods to prevent it from spreading to the other areas of the shelter.
We will be retesting all of our animals and hope to resume adoptions later in May. We have sanitized all areas of the shelter with cleaners that are the most effective against cryptosporidium so pets and people in our retail, grooming and boarding areas are at no greater risk here than they would be in any other public space.
We are hopeful that our community knows that we take the health and safety of our human and animal guests very seriously. We have learned from this experience and are ready to move forward.
We will continue to improve how we do things at the Humane Society and we hope you – our community – will continue to support us along the way.
Anna Ostendorf is executive director of the Humane Society of Goodhue County.