Animal shelter closes after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

Humane Association closed after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - An animal shelter in Warren County is now temporarily closed because of the coronavirus.

The executive director of the Humane Association of Warren County, Joanne Hurley, says the facility is shut down for two weeks because a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

“Unfortunately they had attended church for the first time since our shutdown, and there was a positive exposure there,” Hurley said.

The closure, although temporary, will have a lasting effect on the shelter, Hurley said. Right now, only two employees are allowed inside the building at a time to care for the animals.

“We have anywhere from two to three hundred animals there at any given time, and right now we’re in the heat of kitten season, so that’s putting the extra burden on us as well, so what we decided to do was just break it up into small shifts," Hurley said.

Hurley says this also means that no animals are coming into the shelter, and none are going out.

“We do a rough average of about six adoptions a day, and so if you break that down into two weeks, that’s how many animals aren’t getting homes either,” Hurley said.

Hurley believes the organization could ultimately lose thousands of dollars.

“In the world of non-profit, when you don’t get those tax dollars and you don’t get that steady income, it is a huge impact, because we still have to pay for that medical. We still have to pay for the food. We still have to pay the people to be there to care for the animals,” Hurley said.

All of the staff members are now getting tested for COVID-19, Hurley explains, while the building itself is deep-cleaned and disinfected.

“My best advice is keep those precautions up,” Hurley said.

The staff members’ COVID-19 test results are expected to come in later this week.

Hurley said the county dog wardens are still working and handling emergency calls.

She is hopeful that donations from the community will help them through this difficult time. Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so through the shelter’s Facebook page or website.

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