Prince George’s Co. animal shelter resumes adoptions after canine flu outbreak

Adoptions are once again available at the Prince George’s County Animal Services Facility and Adoption Center, but visits to adopt dogs will be virtual and by appointment only.

Wednesday’s “soft opening” to find a furry canine friend comes after the facility had to close at the end of August due to an outbreak of canine influenza.

As part of the effort to get animals into permanent homes, adoption fees for all available animals are being waived until the end of the month.

During the quarantine period, animals affected by the virus were treated and cared for by staff. Random testing has also been taking place, and after negative results were recorded, the decision to resume adoptions was made.

Andrea Crooms, the director of the county’s Department of the Environment, explains that dog adoption appointments are being held virtually to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

According to information provided by Crooms’ department, canine influenza does not affect humans, but is very contagious for dogs and can be fatal.

Crooms told WTOP in an interview that the quarantine period was “really tough, because we want to get the animals outside as much as possible, we want to get them interacting as much as possible, we want to see them socialized,” but their activities had to be restricted to reduce the risk of infection.

“This is a very serious disease,” said Crooms. “And the reason it comes into the shelter is because it’s out in the community.”

To reduce the risk of transmission, Crooms said people who have the means to do so should make sure to consult with their vets about vaccinations.

And the Animal Services Facility and Adoption Center recommends limiting your dog’s visits to dog parks, doggy day cares, groomers and other places where they can have direct contact with other dogs.

People looking to adopt cats or other small animals can make appointments for in-person visits.

Crooms said a wide variety of pets are available, from seven-month-old Labrador retriever Scooby to smaller dogs — including “a really cute one named Peanut” who Crooms met on a Wednesday visit.

Plenty of felines are looking for warm laps as well. “We have a ton of beautiful cats,” said Crooms.

There are even rabbits, guinea pigs and a few reptiles for those in search of a different type of companion.

To see animals available for adoption in Prince George’s County, you can go to 24Petconnect: Lost, Found, and Adoptable Animals and type in the ZIP code 20772.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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