Oakland animal shelter begins moving dogs into new quarantine center

About 150 dogs from the Oakland Animal Shelter and East Bay SPCA, caught up in a canine flu epidemic, have begun moving to a new quarantine zone.

The dogs are coming by truck from the animal shelters to a nearby warehouse.

Each dog has its own cage.

A veterinarian from the highly specialized animal shelter medicine program at the University of Wisconsin has been brought in to evaluate each dog and oversee the care.

The problem surfaced about two weeks ago at the Oakland Animal Shelter.

"It was spreading through our population very quickly. We discovered we had canine influenza," said Rebecca Katz, director of the Oakland shelter.

"It can turn into pneumonia. We had some dogs that crashed pretty hard and had to be euthanized. We've been able to treat them and supply them with supportive. Pretty heavy antibiotics."

By moving all the exposed dogs to the quarantine warehouse, the staff can then disinfect the shelter.

Then the shelter will once again start taking in strays and other dogs that have no home, and resume adoptions which it hasn't been able to do during the outbreak.

When these dogs get a clean bill of health, they too will be eligible for adoption.

"Each dog that came into our care while we have sick dogs is potentially exposed to it," said Katz.

The shelter says it needs help from the public.

There's a list on the East Bay SPCA website.

"We always need blankets and bedding. Any kind of enrichment supplies. Cleaning supplies. We have a long list. Money, at the risk of sounding crass. We just need to buy things," said Katz.

If all goes well the shelter is hoping to resume normal business again, including taking in dogs, by the middle of next week.

But it will continue to monitor the dogs for canine flu for the next several weeks.