Prince George's County animal shelter accused of euthanizing dogs during 'Strep Zoo' outbreak

Rescue groups are accusing the Prince George's County animal shelter of euthanizing pets and not giving dozens of dogs a chance to live.

The shelter told FOX 5 they're experiencing a disease outbreak, and that's why they've been forced to put the dogs down. 

FOX 5 can't confirm an exact number, but rescue groups we spoke to said up to 40 dogs were euthanized in the last week.

Prince George's County animal shelter accused of euthanizing dogs during 'Strep Zo' outbreak

Starting Monday, the Prince George's County Animal Services Facility and Adoption Center said they are limiting the number of owner-surrendered pets they take in.

"The shelter is overcrowded, understaffed, it is not resourced as well as it could be," said Dan Reed, a board member of the nonprofit rescue PB Proud. "I live in Montgomery County and comparing the Montgomery County shelter to the Prince George's County shelter is night and day."

A few weeks ago, FOX 5 reported on how the shelter in Prince George's County gave rescue groups an urgent list of animals who would be euthanized if they weren't pulled out, due to overcrowding issues.


Animal Rescue races to save dogs from euthanasia in Prince George's County

A local animal rescue is begging for the public's help as they try to save nearly a dozen dogs from being euthanized.

Rescue groups rushed to foster or adopt a couple of dozen dogs.

Now, more rescue groups have reached out to FOX 5, saying conditions at the shelter are deteriorating again.

In a statement to FOX 5, shelter officials stated a respiratory disease called "Strep Zoo" is forcing them to limit owner-surrendered dogs starting today.

The infection forced the facility to shut down in January and is now wreaking havoc once again.

The shelter said pet owners are told what will likely happen to their dogs if they drop them off.

Rescue groups believe the main issue here is that Prince George's County has one of the last remaining breed bans in place – which means residents cannot adopt or foster pit bulls. That policy has been in place since 1997.

Prince George's County animal shelter accused of euthanizing dogs during 'Strep Zo' outbreak

An ongoing lawsuit filed in 2023 has made it so authorities are not enforcing it, but as the only county shelter in Prince George's, they do have to abide by it.

"This is rooted in county policy, because of the policies in place, there have been restrictions on how pit bull-type dogs are treated in the shelter, and they have fewer options to get out of the shelter, and as a result, many of these dogs who are euthanized, in other jurisdictions would have had another chance because the policies are different," Reed explained. 

ASFAC officials want to move 100-plus dogs out of this shelter as quickly as possible and are waiving all adoption fees to make it easier for people to adopt or foster.

"Our facility will limit the intake of owner-surrender pets to prevent further overcrowding and exposure to disease," said Animal Services Director David Fisher. "We need the public’s help and ask them to consider re-homing a pet with other family or friends before bringing them to the shelter and adopting, fostering, or rescuing one of the pets already in our care."
As an open-admission shelter and like most across the country, the facility is operating at capacity due to the number of strays and owner-surrenders it receives daily. Since reopening to the public in January, ASFAC has moved hundreds of animals out of the facility through adoption, foster, and rescue partners. Unfortunately, hundreds more have entered the facility.
All owners who surrender their animals to ASFAC are appraised of the facility's status at the time of surrender and the likely outcome for their animal. Animals picked up on stray hold or otherwise come into their care as holds are always held for the legally required hold period before any next steps towards adoption, foster, or rescue are discussed.

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