To Monmouth County Residents,
As the Executive Director and Chief of Humane Law Enforcement for the Monmouth County SPCA, I would like to sincerely thank everyone for the tremendous amount of support, kind wishes and donations during our time of need.
The decision to close the shelter for adoptions and our Vogel Veterinary Care Center during one of the busiest times of the year for us was difficult, but done out of pure concern for not only the health and well-being of all our dogs, but of genuine concern for all dogs in the Monmouth County area and beyond. As I am sure most of you all read, the H3N2 Influenza (K9 Flu) is extremely contagious but with a very low mortality rate. I am happy to report that all of our dogs that have been affected are improving every day as they receive the best possible care administered at the loving hands of all of our Monmouth County SPCA staff members. The incredible amount of support by the public has been extremely uplifting for our staff as they make their way throughout the day doing what I can only describe as very emotionally intensive work.
There have been some questions about how the H3N2 Influenza made its way into our shelter. The primary mission of the Monmouth County SPCA, now approaching our 75th year, has always been to protect and advocate for all animals (domestic pets, wildlife and domestic livestock) within Monmouth County. This is our responsibility as your county SPCA. However, it has always been our belief that saving lives does not stop at our county borders. The Monmouth County SPCA has been a leader in animal welfare throughout the State of New Jersey and, in partnership with organizations like the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and others, we have at times extended our life saving mission beyond New Jersey. For years, the Monmouth County SPCA has been assisting our animal welfare partners in saving animals from high kill shelters throughout the south and Puerto Rico, from the meat trade in Korea and China, and assisting in rescue efforts during natural disasters throughout the United States. Animals, especially dogs, coming from other areas diversify our adoption floor and help to get our local animals new homes and families. These are abandoned pets or strays that face a very bleak future, but gain a second chance at a happy, healthy life once they arrive in Monmouth County. Unfortunately, differences in geography means differences in immunities/sensitivities of which exposure to the H3N2 Influenza can happen.
At this point, we cannot say with 100% certainty where our current strain of influenza originated, but in all probability it did arrive with one of our rescue transports. While we employ strict quarantine protocols with transports to separate them from the rest of the shelter population there is always a chance of cross contamination which can spread very quickly in a shelter environment. We believe this is what happened in this case. Once we recognized the illness, we immediately began to take steps within the shelter to avoid contagion and, once it became evident that we might be dealing with a more serious strain of flu, we preemptively elected to close down all operations where we came into contact with the public. Our staff contacted each adopter and Vogel Veterinary Care Center patients that were present in our shelter for three weeks prior to the shutdown, and I am happy to report that no illnesses have been reported.
The MCSPCA staff has handled this outbreak with the utmost degree of professionalism and transparency, all while working tirelessly within the shelter to keep our dogs comfortable and on the road to recovery. I am proud to be their Executive Director. The MCSPCA always strives to maintain your trust and support and the certainty that we are here to advocate and care for all animals. Thank you again for your support.