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Humane Society closes due to COVID-19

Hopes to reopen Thursday after employee tests positive

Brooks, an orange tabby, has been at the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley shelter since Nov. 13. (Photo Provided)

The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley hopes to reopen Thursday after closing due to an employee testing positive for COVID.

“We are scheduled to reopen on Thursday as long as we have no one else test positive,” Madison Barnett, feline kennel tech, said.

She said they have been keeping the number of people in the shelter down while doing a deep cleaning.

The employee who tested positive was briefly hospitalized, but Barnett said she went home on Saturday.

“She has a slight cough and can’t taste anything, but we’re hoping she gets better soon,” she said.

This dog Belle has been with the shelter since February 2019. (Photo Provided)

Board Treasurer Mike Montgomery said their protocol is anyone who is sick is sent home.

“When they found out, we notified the rest of the employees and board and closed the doors to the public,” he explained.

He said if someone other than an employee was sick, they would close for a couple of days and do a standard cleaning protocol.

“People are turned away. We suggest everyone get a test, or if they have symptoms, go home immediately,” Montgomery said. “We wear gloves, masks and boots.”

He said they had to turn away several couples who were looking for cats, but they were using the protocols set up by the Center for Disease Control.

Along with cleaning kennels, computer screens, monitors and keyboards were all disinfected.

Although the shelter is closed to the public for the time being, animals and donations can still be dropped off. Donations of supplies can be left on the bench near the front door and shelter employees will take them inside.

If an animal needs to be dropped off, they request a call first for an appointment and an employee will go to the vehicle to assess the animal. Montgomery said if there’s a big hoard, call the shelter and employees will go to the hoarder’s residence to assess the animals.

Sgt. Kelly McGilton, dog warden for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, said she, along with other law enforcement officers, have a way to access the shelter after hours.

She said she communicates with the shelter to let them know an animal was left and if it needed to be quarantined from other animals. She said even when she drops an animal off after hours, she still takes extra precautions by wearing a mask.

McGilton said she encourages people who visit the shelter to get their dog tags to visit the Washington County Auditor’s site, https://www.washingtoncountyauditor.us/, and get the information online.

“There are three boxes at the bottom of the site,” she explained. “Under the one for Resources is a link for dog tags.”

Dog owners can renew or register their dogs on this site.

“It’s convenient and simple,” she added.

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