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Canine flu outbreak subsides at Wake animal shelter. Here’s when you can adopt pets again

News & Observer - 12/2/2023

The Wake County Animal Center will resume pet adoptions, eight weeks after it halted them because of an outbreak of canine influenza.

Cat adoptions at the county-run shelter will resume Monday, Dec. 4, followed by dog adoptions starting Tuesday.

The shelter closed to the public Oct. 6 after the outbreak and the death of three dogs. In addition to adoptions, the county also stopped accepting animals in an effort to prevent new cases and protect the hundreds of animals already at the shelter.

As many as 78 dogs at the shelter were showing symptoms at the height of the canine influenza outbreak, and four eventually died, according to county officials. No new cases have been detected since Nov. 13, they said, and there are now more than 100 healthy dogs ready for adoption.

“We’re so relieved that these efforts helped us to contain the virus and prevent even more animals from dying or becoming sick,” Wake County Commissioner Vickie Adamson said in a written statement urging people to consider adoption. “These poor pets in our center have been waiting patiently, and they now have a fresh chance to begin a healthy life with a new family.”

The center is not ready to reopen for people to enter the building and browse the animals as they once did. Instead, potential adopters can make appointments to meet pets they’ve viewed in the online gallery at

The county is also not ready to begin taking in animals surrendered by their owners or found strays from the public. It expects its animal control units to begin collecting strays again on Jan. 2, when the public will be able to bring in stray animals again by appointment.

Canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs that is also called dog flu. Cats can sometimes get canine influenza, particularly those that live in shelters.

Anyone interested in adopting an animal can call the Wake County Animal Center at 919-212-7387 or email to schedule an appointment.

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