I have a question, did all the cats have ringworm and how infested were they? I think the announcement on Pinecam was unclear, it said several not all?
Out of about twenty five cats, three developed lesions over course of three weeks. All cats were cultured and came up postive.
The challenge with ringworm is the spores that are continuously shed into the surrounding environment. Infected animals drop spores by the thousands, and other animals are, or become carriers, of ringworm. These carriers do not show the classic external signs of ringworm, but still contaminate the surrounding environment with spores.
Given and incubation period of 1 to 4 weeks, we know that by the time the third cat came up positive there had been ringworm spore contamination in the shelter anywhere from 4 to 7 weeks. In this course of time all other cats had to be considered infested/exposed to spores due to the physical set up of the shelter which is basically continuous rooms with limited ventilation.
Did you ask other shelters if they wanted to help out? Did you consider asking for funds, not necessarily space?
Yes we did. But requesting isolated housing of 23 cats is beyond the scope most any other shelter - even the big municipal shelters.
The other question is - to what end goal of relocating the occupants? It would still have necessitated closing down IMHS for 12 weeks which in the end would cost more lives than it would help.
While IMHS always needs funds, money really couldn't help in this situation.
Is IMHS considered a low kill or high kill shelter?
Excellent question that I would like to expand upon. I checked with the shelter manager to make sure I was giving out accurate numbers. It turned out in my first post I understated the adoption numbers. In 2010 IMHS adopted out close to 700 animals and euthanized 35.
What IMHS is, or becomes, is totally up to you and the rest of the community. Even within this thread we have seen concerns expressed about IMHS not being able to take in all surrenders whether they are strays or older pets from private homes. Other people expressed concerns about euthanasias being performed at the shelter.
This is paradox that needs to be solved, especially if IMHS expands into a larger facility. Many people would like to see IMHS become an open-intake facility where strays and privately-owned animals can be surrendered at any time. The consequences of an open-intake format is needing to deal with an influx of animals with chronic disease, aggression, and any number of behavioral issues that would make them extremely challenging candidates for re-homing.
Edited to add-- We appreciate you coming on and giving you comments about your decisions on our site.
I sincerely thank you for your interest. IMHS's biggest challenge has always been to get people involved and interested. We currently have several open board position and many volunteer opportunities if you or anyother 285Bounder's are interested.
As this thread shows, humane society work can necessitate being involved in some truly gut-wrenching decisions...but it is also incredibly rewarding.