Virus temporarily shuts down Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pennsylvania — Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge near Dallas is home to dozens of dogs, cats and rabbits available for adoption and dozens of horses, goats and pigs who live there permanently.

It’s also where we feature many of our 16 To The Rescue pets looking for their forever homes. But the Luzerne County shelter is temporarily closed due to a virus outbreak infecting the dogs.

“A few of our dogs started to get diarrhea, but that’s pretty normal for dogs that find themselves in a new stressful environment. As our dogs started to get diarrhea over the longer term and stopped eating, we realized they weren’t themselves that’s when we knew something was wrong,” explains Emma Ripka, Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge.

Rescue workers aren’t exactly sure what the virus is, but they say shelters across the country are experiencing the same thing.

Other shelters also report upper respiratory problems, but rescuers don’t see that with Blue Chip, hoping it’s just a stomach flu.

They say it currently affects about 25 percent of their 40 dogs, and they had it tested Thursday.

“So that’s why we’re doing our best by closing for a while to stop the spread, so it’s just in certain areas and it doesn’t go any further,” Ripka said.

Rescuers say humans can’t contract the virus, but if you’re exposed to one of the shelter’s infected dogs, you could take the virus home and infect your animals.

That’s why no one is allowed on the farm right now and that’s why the shelter near Dallas can’t take in strays or surrenders until further notice.

“It’s not just in shelters. Neighborhoods can pass it from dog to dog. Be really attentive to your pet, if they’re behaving differently than usual, if they have gastrointestinal or upper respiratory problems, definitely take them to the vet as soon as possible just to check their symptoms,” Ripka added.

Blue Chip is also unable to accept personal donations at this time. But if you want to help, you can donate towards the shelter’s medical bills through PayPal, Venmo, or by mail. You can find that information by clicking here.

Rescue workers say they will reopen if there’s a full week without dogs showing any new symptoms.

See more news stories on WNEP’s YouTube page.

Leave a Comment