KILN -- The Hancock County Animal Shelter temporarily closed its doors last week as it dealt with an unknown illness that was making dogs there sick.
Director Toni Accardo said Thursday she believed 39 dogs were sick with "dog flu" or canine influenza, but tests sent to the state lab returned inconclusive, according to a post on the shelter's Facebook page.
"We are going to do what we can to save those that the virus has not affected as badly as others. We are working with several veterinarians and also vaccination & testing companies to find a solution to this problem. Everyone please stay positive. We dislike this situation just as much as all of you!" the post said. "We promise to make the best decision that we can to protect all animals in the shelter and also the ones outside the shelter. This is a highly contagious disease so we are taking all precautions into consideration so that we are protecting everyone to our fullest ability."
Accardo had said shelter workers noticed late last week the dogs were getting sick and attempted to treat them with fluids and antibiotics.
The shelter was also sterilized with bleach.
Accardo said dogs had high fevers and were suffering from green nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, vomiting and diarrhea.
She previously said if the animals did not begin to show improvement they would have to be euthanized -- a difficult decision the shelter has drawn criticism for on its Facebook page.
"We understand your thoughts and concerns," the shelter posted in one reply. "We are very heart broken too. We know these dogs and have built relationships with them. Shelter work relies on donations but decisions are not made solely on money. At least not in this case. The decision was made by professional veterinarians for the welfare of the animals."
It has not been made public how many dogs had been euthanized as of Saturday evening.
Accardo did not return several messages for comment Saturday.