BARCO, N.C. (WAVY) — Officials at the Currituck County Animal Shelter announced on Thursday that they euthanized 52 cats, including nine mother cats and their kittens, in early July due to a contagious medical condition.
“Euthanizing animals is a last resort at the Currituck County Animal Shelter and is only done for medical or violent behavioral reasons. The emotional toll on staff is very significant,” the shelter said in a release. “Currituck County takes great pride in operating a clean, caring, and professional animal shelter.”
All of the 52 cats were identified to have severe symptoms of Calicivirus, which causes upper respiratory infections and painful ulcers in the mouth. Officials say that each cat had visible ulcers and caused the cats to reject food.
The shelter first learned about the disease after sending several cats to Virginia Beach area shelters to assist with getting the animals adopted. However, four of the nine cats were rejected on intake in Virginia Beach because they displayed symptoms of Calicivirus.
After the cats returned to North Carolina, they were separated along with others from the larger group that originally came to the shelter with them. A growing number of cats began to display symptoms of Calicivirus.
The shelter staff contacted state inspectors at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture to report the cases as is required by law. Officials with the state agreed that euthanizing the cats was the best option.
Officials say each cat was sedated before being euthanized.