The Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter (MOAS) has announced that it will be closed to the public until Saturday, Jan. 2 after two shelter employees testing positive for COVID-19.

“On Sunday, Dec. 20, the shelter made the difficult decision to close to the public when two of our employees tested positive for the virus,” Shelter Director Andrew Kitchens said. “These employees are following all quarantine guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are recovering from the safety of their homes.”

Additionally, Kitchens added, a few cats surrendered to the shelter recently started displaying symptoms of panaleukopenia, a high communicable cat-specific disease.

“This disease was confirmed by diagnostic testing and promptly reported to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, whose representative inspected the shelter’s safety protocols and stated that we have taken every appropriate step to prevent the disease from spreading,” Kitchens said. “It is very unfortunate for our shelter to be hit by two unrelated illnesses at the same time, but we are proud to have been able to respond quickly and appropriately to reduce the likelihood of transmission for both illnesses.”

To protect the staff, community and the animals, all animal intake services as well as the low-cost spay/neuter surgery center have been closed until after the beginning of the new year.

“MOAS serves our community by assuming the responsibility and care of the homeless pet population in both Madison and Oglethorpe counties,” Kitchens stated. “We consistently place the health and well-being of our animals, staff, and community as our highest priorities.”

However, MOAS officials have come up with a way to continue to seek homes for the pets in their care, including a special incentive for the adoption of large dogs during this holiday season.

“During this time, we are offering virtual shelter ‘meet and greets,’” Kitchens announced. “And as an added bonus we are waiving adoption fees for all of our large dogs (50 pounds or more) in our care, both in foster homes and for those being housed at the shelter.”

To learn more about this new opportunity, email the shelter at info@moaspets.com or call 706-795-2868.

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