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April 18, 2023

ACCT Philly seeks homes for 70 dogs by next week to prevent spread of canine flu

The shelter is offering $400 gift cards to anyone who fosters an animal. Incentives also are being given to people who wish to adopt

Pets Adoptions
ACCT Philly Dog Flu @ACCTPhilly/Facebook

ACCT Philly, which is battling an outbreak of canine flu, is asking people to foster or adopt more than 70 large dogs so that it can create space to separate dogs exposed to respiratory illnesses.

Update: ACCT Philly was able to find homes for 152 dogs last week through adoptions, foster care, or returning the pets to their owners. The animal shelter said that more than 150 people signed up to foster dogs. If ACCT Philly is able to continue to find homes for dogs at this level it said it would not have to euthanize any of the canines currently in its care. 

As the dog flu continues to impact the local rescue, ACCT Philly is also seeking donations, it costs $200 to test the animals for the illness.

ACCT Philly is asking people to foster or adopt at least 70 large dogs by Monday so that it can create a temporary space to separate animals exposed to the canine flu or pneumovirus from incoming pups.

Anyone who fosters a dog will receive a $400 Visa gift card at the end of April. Those who adopt a dog will receive a free bag of food, a free vet exam, a voucher for $250 of vet services, an offer for discounted pet insurance and virtual dog training through GoodPup.

The temporary space only will have room for 50 dogs, but the animal shelter takes in about 100 dogs per week, ACCT Philly said. With 120 dogs currently in the shelter, ACCT Philly needs to find homes for these dogs quickly. 

The shelter will not accept any dogs for intake on Monday, April 24, or Tuesday, April 25, so that dogs can be moved and the building can be cleaned. 

"There is no good time to do something like this, but unfortunately with the number of dogs who are getting sick, we don't have a humane alternative," said Sarah Barnett, executive director of ACCT Philly. "We continue to be here for the animals most in need in Philadelphia, and while this will be very challenging to pull off, we hope that the community will support us and help make this successful."

As a last resort, the shelter will euthanize some of the dogs. Barnett told the Inquirer she does not foresee needing to put down 70 dogs, but the shelter may need to euthanize some animals if it receives more dogs by Monday.

ACCT Philly also is open to other ways to create space for more animals, including housing them in a trailer – if someone is willing to donate one, she told 6ABC.

The animal shelter posted a video on Facebook showing more than 100 dogs in need of homes. Fostering an animal from ACCT Philly requires filling out an application. Once it's submitted, the shelter will reach out and arrange a date for the applicant to meet the dogs.

Adoption fees have been waived through Sunday for dogs over 40 pounds. People interested in adopting also should fill out an application online. Because of the dire need, ACCT Philly will expedite the process. Adopters must bring a photo ID, a leash and a collar on adoption day.

Because of exposure concerns, people can't meet the dogs in person.

This is the animal intake shelter's second push this month to find homes for its canine population. It previously created the Easier than an Alligator challenge in an effort to find foster homes for some of the pups. The goal of the campaign was to get 15 people who did not have dogs in their homes to foster pups from the shelter for a month. 

Canine flu has been a problem across the country, especially during the winter when cases were on the rise. Dogs also have been affected by pneumovirus, a respiratory virus that causes fever, coughing, rapid breathing and sneezing. The surge in respiratory illnesses has coincided with a nationwide overpopulation in animal shelters.

ACCT Philly is located at 111 W. Hunting Park Ave. and is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It can be reached at (267) 385-3800. More information about adopting or fostering dogs can be found on its website.