What exactly does the shutdown impact? 
What causes canine upper respiratory infection, and are other facilities having this problem?
Is ACCT Philly working with veterinarians to try to resolve this?
Aren’t these normal? Why is there a shutdown?
Why two weeks?
If the dogs have been exposed to a virus, why is it okay for some to go to rescue groups?
Is it contagious? Can people get it?
Will Animal Control still be working?
I have to surrender my pet, what do I do?
What about if I had already made an appointment to surrender my pet but it is during the two week shutdown period?
Are there still animals up for adoption?
How does this impact the cats?
How can I help?
Are volunteers still allowed?

What exactly does the shutdown impact? 

  • No dog adoptions will take place at the 111 W. Hunting Park facility and the majority of dogs at the facility will be sheltered in place. Dogs will still be available for adoption at the Pet Smart Every Day Adoption Center
  • The facility is still open for cat adoptions, as cats are housed separately from the dogs.
  • Dogs who have been at the facility for more than a month and have not shown any clinical signs of illness during that time will be available to approved rescues for transfer and available for foster by individuals with no other dogs in the home.
  • Volunteers are still encouraged to come and walk dogs and provide enrichment
  • No owner-surrendered dogs will be accepted starting Saturday, May 18, 2019, unless the dog is a risk to public safety or the dog is ill or suffering, and in both instances require euthanasia.
  • The Community Pet Help Desk will continue to assist dog owners who need to surrender their pets by providing additional options to consider for their pet.
  • Given the inability to adequately isolate dogs at the facility, ACCT Philly has secured a limited amount of space away from the general population to house a limited number of incoming stray dogs and quarantine them.
  • The hope is that if unclaimed after the 48 hour stray hold is up, they can be transferred into rescue.

What causes canine upper respiratory infection, and are other facilities having this problem?As Philly’s largest open admission shelter, ACCT Philly takes in nearly 18,000 annually. Already in 2019, almost 5,000 animals have entered ACCT Philly’s program and 71 percent of these were strays. Despite utilizing trap-neuter-return (TNR), partnering with rescues, fee waived adoptions and owner surrender appointments, ACCT Philly is frequently at capacity. Kenneling environments present challenges to shelter animals at the best of times due to the stress and noise, and can create greater challenges the longer an animal remains and the more animals that are occupying a large kenneling environment such as the space at the Hunting Park Ave facility. 

We are not aware of other facilities in the Philadelphia area facing this challenge right now, but several shelters across the country are dealing with an increase in certain illnesses including upper respiratory infections.

Is ACCT Philly working with veterinarians to try to resolve this?
Absolutely. We have national experts consulting on this issue, and are very grateful for their expertise during this difficult time.

Aren’t these normal? Why is there a shutdown?
While upper respiratory infections can be common, there have been several cases of unusually severe pneumonia leading to the death of five of the dogs affected. A special test called a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) panel was run, and did not identify any unusual pathogens. This test also ruled out some of the major viral infections such as distemper and canine influenza virus, but we still do not have the answers we need to definitely understand the issue we are seeing. As a result, additional precautionary measures such as the shutdown are being implemented at the recommendation of national experts who are consulting with ACCT Philly to address the situation.

Why two weeks?
Most canine respiratory viruses are shed in less than ten days, which is why two weeks is the recommended time frame during which to isolate potentially infected dogs.

If the dogs have been exposed to a virus, why is it okay for some to go to rescue groups?
The dogs who are available for rescue or short term foster are in two distinct categories:

Long term dogs
: Eligible long term dogs have been at the facility for more than a month and are not showing clinical signs. However as an extra precautionary step, only foster homes without other dogs and rescues who are able to place them into single dog foster homes will be considered for these dogs.

Urgent Strays:
 While owner surrenders are not being accepted during the shutdown and ACCT Philly is reaching out to partners to try to have strays be taken in at a different facility, a limited number of kennels have been set up in an isolated area at the Hunting Park Ave facility. These dogs will remain there until the 48 hours stray hold period is up. If unclaimed, the fervent hope is to line up rescues and fosters for these dogs so that they do not enter the facility with the already exposed population.

Is it contagious? Can people get it?
It is contagious to other dogs, but the manner in which it is contagious will not be definitively confirmed until it’s determined what the virus causing the infection is. We do not believe at this time that people are at risk of contracting this canine URI.

Will Animal Control still be working?
Our ACOs work round the clock and will continue to during the shutdown, however because we need to limit our intake as much as possible, we are looking for other options for strays and animals in dire need to be diverted to.

I have to surrender my pet, what do I do?
During the shutdown ACCT Philly will not be accepting owner surrendered animals unless the dog is a risk to public safety or the dog is ill or suffering, and in both instances require euthanasia. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience. If you need to rehome your pet due to the inability to afford veterinary care or food, behavior issues, or moving, please make sure review our resource page  as well as that of the No Kill Philadelphia Coalition, both of which provide possible solutions for these challenges and could help you keep your pet!  You may also contact the community pet help desk at helpdesk@phillynokill.org or call 484-466-2913.

What about if I had already made an appointment to surrender my pet but it is during the two week shutdown period?
Unfortunately, we will need to reschedule your appointment, however will need to wait to do so until after the shutdown to ensure that the kennel environment is healthy again. If you had an appointment during the shutdown period, we ask that you check back on this page on June 1st or call or e-mail us at (267) info@acctphilly.org

Are there still animals up for adoption?
Yes! Our Every Day Adoption center will have dogs up for adoption who were not exposed, and cats will also be up for adoption at our Hunting Park facility. Additionally, we will still have cats up for adoption at the Petco adoption centers. For a complete list of locations, please click here.

How does this impact the cats?
The cats are housed separately from the dogs, and so you can still adopt one of our many great cats or kittens looking for a home. You can see view them here

How can I help?
The two things most needed right now are monetary donations and fosters or rescues for long term dogs:

Donations: The cost of the additional medical care and testing for the dogs adds up quickly, and every dollar helps. You can make a donation here, and please consider joining our Society for Second Chances by becoming a monthly donor to support our work to save lives year round.

Fosters: Foster homes with no other dogs at home are urgently needed for dogs who have been at the shelter for over a month, and for stray dogs during the shutdown who are unclaimed. Read more about our foster program here and fill out an application here.
Rescues are urgently needed for dogs who have been at the shelter for over a month and are not showing clinical signs of illness, and for stray dogs during the shutdown who are unclaimed.

Have a trailer? We know it’s a long shot, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, so we will: In an effort to expand quarantine space for healthy stray dogs during the shutdown, ACCT Philly is also seeking a trailer that can be sanitized or other quarantine space that is appropriate for housing dogs and that is close to the 111 W. Hunting park facility.

Supply Donations: Donations of supplies are also encouraged and can be dropped off during business hours. A complete list of needed supplies is available here.

Keep in mind there are many ways to donate, host a party for the animals and raise funds for us in your community, make sure to select us as your charity for choice for Amazon Smile and other online shopping sites, host a supply drive at your office, find out if your company has a workplace giving program – these are just a few options, you can see even more on our how to help page here.

Are volunteers still allowed?
Yes! Volunteers can still walk dogs and help provide enrichment, the dogs will appreciate it more than ever! Not a volunteer? Now’s a great time to start. Learn more here.