Wake County Animal Center extends closure; issues urgent plea to rescue groups

Wake County Animal Center temporarily closed due to Canine Influenza Virus, with photo of intake area

Due to a recent outbreak of canine influenza, the Wake County Animal Center is extending its closure until at least the end of November. The shelter first paused services on Oct. 6 to help control the outbreak and safeguard the 156 dogs currently in the shelter.

To provide the best possible care, the center is reaching out to rescue organizations – both local and from outside North Carolina. The center is requesting their assistance in relocating dogs from our shelter or helping with strays from animal control partners.

“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.”

As of Tuesday, Oct. 31, the center has:

  • 30 sick dogs
  • Four cases of Canine Influenza, with one additional case suspected and waiting on confirmation
  • Four deaths due to Canine Influenza
  • 77 dogs that have recovered

Since the closure Oct. 6:

  • Nine dogs were reunited with their owners
  • Three dogs have been adopted
  • 12 dogs have left with Transfer Partners

We want to thank the following partners who allowed us to transfer pets to them for care and future adoption:

"We've received so many calls from the public asking how to help, and it means the world to us," said Dr. Jennifer Federico, the director of the Wake County Animal Center. "If you want to help, join us in stopping the spread of the virus. We will get through this; it is just going to take time.”

To keep your pets safe:

  • Make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. Speak with your veterinarian if you are unsure what they need.
  • Even if your dog shows no symptoms, please refrain from taking them to dog parks, doggie daycare or any public places where unknown dogs gather.
  • If you must board your dog, ensure that the facility is taking all precautions to prevent disease spread, which includes requiring vaccinations to board at the facility.
  • Asymptomatic animals can still transmit the virus, if infected, and we urge all pet owners to take precautions to protect their furry friends and minimize community spread.

“In addition to ensuring your pets are safe, you can help us by taking in strays, trying to find their owners, helping neighbors rehome their pets if needed and stepping up to offer services that we normally provide and just can’t because of the dog flu at the center,” said Dr. Federico.

Due to the closure, the following services are affected:

  • Adoptions at Animal Center: All adoptions of pets, including dogs, cats and other small animals, are temporarily paused.
  • Surrenders: Owners are not able to surrender any animals during this closure.
  • Animal Control: All five Animal Control agencies across the county (Wake County, Raleigh, Cary, Garner and Holly Springs) continue to respond to emergency animal calls; however, they are not picking up strays or owner surrenders in the field.
  • Bite Animals: The Animal Center often holds pets on quarantine following bite incidents; however, at this time, those animals should be quarantined in veterinary offices or private homes.

Services that are being offered:

  • Adoption of Foster Pets: All our foster pets are now available for adoption and showcased on our adoption website, ready to join their forever families. We have 22 cats, 16 dogs, two guinea pigs and 69 kittens available for adoption.
  • Lost Pets: If you believe your pet is currently at the Animal Center, please call at 919-212-PETS (7387) for instructions on providing proof of ownership and the process to reclaim your pet. Please note that lost pet walk-throughs inside the building are not offered during the quarantine period.
  • Owner-Requested Euthanasia: If you need to euthanize your pet due to health or behavioral issues, you can call and request an appointment for euthanasia. Owners are asked to provide veterinary notes detailing the animal's medical condition or specific behavioral issues. Euthanasia requested by owners is carried out immediately upon surrender to the Animal Center. Staff reserves the right to refuse this service if the animal does not appear to be in need of euthanasia. Owners will then be referred to a private veterinarian for assistance.
  • Phone Support for Rehoming: If you need to rehome your pet and adopted it from a local organization, we recommend reaching out to them for assistance in finding a new home for your pet or returning it to their programs. We strongly encourage pet owners to work on rehoming their pet by using these tips.
  • Phone Support for Stray Pets: If you've found a stray pet and are looking to locate its owner, we provide phone support and guidance on how to reunite the pet with its owner.

The Wake County Animal Center has created a dedicated webpage where it posts updates on the situation.

Press Release