Cats put down after ‘highly infectious’ virus enters animal shelter

Posted at 12:52 PM, Sep 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-27 15:39:06-04

HOPEWELL, Va. (WTVR) – A “highly infectious” cat virus forced the Hopewell Animal Shelter to put down multiple cats and stop accepting new ones. The shelter is in the processes of being decontaminated.

Dogs are not affected by the virus.

Hopewell Animal Control Supervisor Amanda Hoak said it was likely the upper respiratory virus, known as feline calicivirus, entered the shelter through an unvaccinated cat.

She said they had to make the “extremely hard decision” to put down 10 shelter cats exposed to the virus after “multiple” other cats got sick and died.

“We had to do what was humane,” she said.

The shelter hopes to be able to accept cats again by  Nov. 1. Other area animal shelters are not in a position to house cats from the Hopewell shelter.

“We realize that this may be an inconvenience for some of our citizens, but we must ensure the safety of the cats that come into our care,” Hoak said.

She added a reminder to pet owners to be sure to have their pets up-to-date on their vaccinations.