Berkeley animal shelter fills up as canine influenza spreads throughout Oakland shelters

A dog in the quarantine area set up at the Berkeley Animal Shelter
The Berkeley shelter is quarantining dogs brought in as a health measure. Photo: William Lundquist

The Dona Spring Animal Shelter near Aquatic Park has reached capacity as an outbreak of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in Oakland has prompted shelters there to send healthy animals to Berkeley.

Two-thirds of the dogs at the Oakland animal shelter are sick with the flu, which is extremely contagious, Rebecca Katz of Oakland Animal Services told KRON4. Since many regional shelters, like Berkeley’s, are at capacity, the Oakland shelter is trying to move over 100 dogs to a nearby warehouse where they can be quarantined, she told KRON4.

CIV gives dogs a runny nose, persistent cough, and depletes their energy. The virus takes a long time to go away. Dogs must be quarantined for as long as six weeks and they continue to spread the virus for 24 days, Karalyn Aronow of the East Bay SPCA told KRON4.

The virus has not hit the Berkeley shelter, according to Amelia Funghi, the manager of Berkeley Animal Care Services. However, the outbreak in Oakland has created a ripple effect in the region as Oakland’s overflow site, the East Bay SPCA, is also seeing a CIV outbreak. So dogs that would have been sent there have been sent to Berkeley and other shelters in the region. The Berkeley shelter reached capacity a few days ago, said Funghi.


“This is already having a major impact and our shelter has reached capacity in three days,” Funghi told Berkeleyside in an email on Sunday.

All dogs coming to the Berkeley shelter are put in a quarantined area as they arrive to make sure they do not have CIV, a visit to the shelter revealed. Shelter staff members that enter the quarantined area must wear a paper suit and paper booties, according to a sign on the door. All incoming dogs are also getting the CIV vaccine.

The spread of CIV in the region and the impact on Berkeley prompted Funghi to issue some suggestions to dog owners and dog lovers:

  • If you are going to surrender a dog in Oakland or Berkeley and can wait several weeks, you are requested to do so.
  • If you are interested in adopting a dog from Berkeley Shelter, now is a good time.
  • If you have thought about fostering a dog, now is a good time.
  • If you have not vaccinated your own dog for CIV, please consult with your veterinarian.

Dog owners concerned about the health of their animals can take preventative measures. They can prevent the spread of the flu by keeping their dog separate from large groups of dogs, and washing their hands frequently if they visit a shelter. If your dog is infected, there are vaccination options at the vet.

Dog sticks its tongue out at Dona Spring Animal Shelter
This dog needs an owner. Since the Berkeley shelter is full, this is an excellent time to adopt or foster a dog. Photo: William Lundquist