It could be months before shelter reopens after bird flu

It could be months before a Georgia animal shelter reopens after it was closed due to bird flu that killed wild vultures living there, part of an outbreak that has killed 40.3 million commercial and domestic herds across the country. the whole country.

A note on the Noah’s Ark website on Tuesday said the orphanage, which houses more than 1,500 animals in Locust Grove, will be closed until September 30.

However, the government veterinarian, Dr Janmari Hennebel, said in a video on Friday that the birds would be quarantined for at least five months. Just over 100 people have been euthanized due to the high risk of contracting the virus, she said.

Noah’s Ark says that among the birds put to sleep were peacocks, peahens, emus, ostriches, guinea fowls, chickens, turkeys and geese, one owl, one crow and one sandhill crane. “These bird species may carry avian influenza and have been exposed to an endangered population of vultures,” an unsigned statement said on Monday.

Noah’s Ark is still home to hundreds of birds that are alive and well, the sanctuary said.

Hennebel and Secretary of State for Agriculture Gary Black did not name Noah’s Ark by name, describing it only as a non-profit herd in Henry County.

The state Department of Agriculture was notified Aug. 13 of the deaths of an unusual number of black vultures and five days later was informed that domestic ducks were showing symptoms of bird flu, Hennebel said. She said samples were taken from the ducks on August 19, and three days later a federal lab confirmed it was the H5N1 strain.

According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Service, this strain has infected commercial and domestic flocks in 39 states and has been reported in 2,100 wild birds in all but a few states.

“Like a natural disease, the object needs to be localized, cleaned, and then disinfected/disinfected. We are in the containment phase,” Noah’s Ark said in a statement on Monday. “Our partners from the State Agency are leading and will carry out cleaning and disinfection. They will do a complete vulture removal, perch removal and sanitization.”

Neither government officials nor Noah’s Ark have said how many black vultures died there.

Animal care manager Allison Hedgecote told WXIA-TV that at least 700 black vultures have died. According to a statement Tuesday from the shelter, she was suspended from work pending a conversation with the station.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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