RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County Animal Center will remain closed until at least the end of November because of the ongoing outbreak of canine influenza.
The animal shelter first paused its services on Oct. 6. The idea was to help control the outbreak and safeguard the more than 150 dogs currently in the shelter.
Since Oct. 6, the shelter has reunited nine dogs with their owners, gotten three dogs adopted and moved 12 out of the facility through transfer partners.
In less than a month, dog flu killed four dogs in the shelter. Thirty other dogs are currently sick -- although not all of them have confirmed cases of dog flu.
"Every single room has sick dogs," Wake County Animal Shelter Director Dr. Jennifer Federico said.
Since the start of the outbreak, 77 dogs at the shelter have recovered from the illness.
"We have dogs in our care that have not been exposed, those that have recovered and asymptomatic dogs," said Wake County Commissioner Vickie Adamson. "We need additional help from rescue organizations to make a difference in the lives of these dogs and offer them a chance for a fresh start."
Those other rescue operations are stepping up, but many of them said they're overwhelmed too.
"'We're doing the best that we can," Pips Rescue Founder Nicole Kincaid said. "I've been in rescue for 14 years and I have never seen it this bad. It was getting bad before Wake County shut down; we were dealing with a lot of dogs in the area, and now that they have shut down, it has shifted to the rescues and it's been hard."
Kincaid said foster families are stepping in and playing a key role in helping the shelters get through this difficult time.
"Fosters are it right now. That is the only way that we're going to get through this crisis, and this is a crisis," she said.
Federico said another great way way people can help is to work to stop the spread of the virus.
"We'll get through this, it is just going to take time," she said.
The shelter offered the following tips for keeping your dogs safe and healthy during this outbreak: