A lockdown at the Cobb County Animal Services shelter in Marietta seems to be working to contain an infectious bacterial outbreak that has claimed the lives of four dogs.
The shelter, near Jim Miller Park, was closed a week ago, on Oct. 2, for professional deep cleaning and to vaccinate the 150 dogs and 200 cats inside.
In the two weeks leading up to the shelter lockdown, around 80 animals were adopted out from the facility. Shelter staff contacted those pet owners to caution them about the outbreak of Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a bacterial infection commonly known as “strep zoo” that usually originates in horses.
None of those people had come forward by Wednesday to notify shelter staff that their new pets had become sick, Cobb Communications Director Ross Cavitt said.
“I checked out there earlier today and they had a good weekend. No other dogs have become sick,” Cavitt said. “Now it’s just a waiting period for the vaccine to take its course through the end of this week.”
Four dog deaths have been confirmed as a result of the outbreak, while another is being investigated.
Shelter staff bought more than $15,000 worth of vaccines to battle the outbreak and hired commercial cleaners to scrub the shelter floor to ceiling.
“This is an expensive operation,” Cavitt said last week. “But county officials have vowed to use contingency funds in the FY20 budget to do what is needed.”
The shelter, located at 1060 Al Bishop Drive in Marietta, is also working with the Humane Society of Cobb County and other local animal rescue organizations to ensure stray animals or emergency cases can be accommodated while the county’s facility is closed.
In the meantime, volunteers and the public won’t be let in and no additional animals will be admitted.
Cavitt said the county’s animal services officers will still respond to calls and will work to find temporary housing at other nearby facilities for any animals requiring care.