I usually meet with my brother for breakfast once a week and we have picked the local hospital’s cafeteria as the place for the best breakfast food… go figure. The other day we were met at the entrance of the hospital by a guy wearing a face mask who inquired as to our health. It appears that you now need to be healthy to enter a hospital. This is consistent with my visit to the grocery store where all of the hand sanitizer is sold out. It appears that we are taking the virus threat seriously.
As I watch the news and witness the reaction and overreaction to this new strain of a virus, I realize that the world is looking in to the fishbowl of running an animal shelter. Third world countries that engage in poor vaccination protocols experience the highest contamination rate; just as we experience in areas of our cities that fail to vaccinate our pets.
Just as the CDC is chasing down infection sources, we in the shelter fight to keep people from touching every animal as the walk through our shelters. As infected people callously walk around in public, we have callous people walking through our shelters. Just as these callous people play a role in the death of people by spreading germs, we experience the same thing in animal shelters. People seem to ignore the hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere; they are usually visible from any point in an animal shelter. Just unused.
While working in the South, we constantly fought feline panleukopenia. We had a infected colony of cats in one county and just as we cleaned up one outbreak in the shelter, animal control officers would go out and begin trapping cats from that colony to bring to the shelter. We had a constant battle going on with those animal control officers. They could never see the big picture that the one or two feral cats that they were removing from a specific area could potentially impact the entire shelter’s cat population. It is most difficult to deal with callous people, especially when they are in your own profession.
I wish people would take seriously the threat that they pose to shelter animals as they have taken to the threat of not wanting to be exposed to a new virus.