Bellwether Harbor to Open Doors Again Soon

Bellwether Harbor, an animal shelter in Fremont, has been closed due to an outbreak of Ringworm. They recently posted on their Facebook page that they will be back open on February 11th.

photo credit: Bellwether Harbor

photo credit: Bellwether Harbor

Here the comment from Danielle Merrill, President and Executive Director of Bellweather Harbor:

Hello Friends!

I am sorry it has taken so long for me to give you an update, but we have been very busy with caring for the animals and trying to conquer our problem with Ringworm. I am happy to let you know, we are winning the war! We have decided February 11 is our target date for opening our doors again. We still have a lot of work to do and we are working hard to make it happen. Wish us luck!

This whole ordeal of having Ringworm in our shelter has been horrendous! The reality of what we have been going through may be hard to comprehend. Please know this whole process has put all of us to the test of sticking to the work required and following through with what needs to be done so we can be assured our shelter is once again a safe and healthy place for the animals in our care and the people coming through our doors. Our staff has been truly amazing and dedicated to their work for the animals and our shelter as a whole.

We have learned so much through this experience. When we realized we had an outbreak of Ringworm, we did intensive research to learn how to overcome the problem. We learned about how to clean and disinfect for Ringworm (it is harder to get rid of than any virus, even Parvo!). We learned about using a ‘Wood’s’ lamp as a tool to detect Ringworm and collecting samples with a clean/new toothbrush. We learned about how to inoculate culture plates with the samples and then incubate them at the correct temperature and humidity level. We turned a small room/closet into our ‘culture room’.

We cultured samples from every animal in our shelter (50), and did this for about 3 weeks. We have also been taking samples from the environment in the building. At one point we had about 110 culture plates incubating. We learned about how to treat the animals with a lime sulfur dip to rid the Ringworm from their skin and fur.

photo credit: Bellwether Harbor

photo credit: Bellwether Harbor

In the beginning of this process there were 3 animals that tested positive on their first culture. Their next 2 cultures were negative and we are incubating a third one on these 3 animals just to be sure we did not have a false negative. We will know the results this week. We collected a random environmental sample from a drawer in Quarantine a couple of weeks ago and it came up positive for Ringworm. This means it is present in random places in the building so we have collected more environmental samples and will know the results soon. We are cleaning every nook and cranny to make sure we are rid of this pesky fungus. The cleaning is constant!

The shelter animals have been troopers, putting up with their confinement and all of the lime sulfur treatments to rid any Ringworm that might be on their fur. Some handled it better than others. There have been only a couple of wounded staff members when dealing with the cats. We have some ‘war’ stories to tell!

photo credit: Bellwether Harbor

photo credit: Bellwether Harbor

We are beginning to put our building back together and get things back to normal. We are really looking forward to the day we open our doors again on February 11 at 3:00 pm! If any of you would like to stop by and visit, we will be open until 7pm. We will have a few light refreshments available and lots of happy animals waiting to greet you! You are all welcome to stop by and help us celebrate!!!

Thank you so much for standing by us and giving us your support!

All my best to you all,

Dani

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