BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An outbreak of respiratory infections forces a local animal rescue shelter to stop accepting unwanted or abused dogs.

Christie Ileto has more on the infection spreading through the canine population.

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It’s antibiotics for these dogs Tuesday. Effective Monday, June 3, no stray dogs can be brought to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, or BARCS, for 21 days.

“We are seeing an upper respiratory infection that is in at a higher rate than usual, and this strain of the infection is proving to be harder to treat,” said Lisa Morabito, program manager.

Vet techs say the viral infection is spreading only though the canine population.

“Respiratory disease is very contagious, just like colds,” she said.

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Out of the 90-to-1o0 dogs at the shelter, 35 percent are ill.

“He’s been on medication since the 17th of May. We have some that have been on a lot longer,” said Teri Schwartz, vet tech.

What does this mean for people who find unwanted dogs in the meantime? Staff say you’ll have to find alternate housing, or someone here can help you find a nearby shelter temporarily.

“We’re asking the public, if you have a dog you need to surrender, please wait the 21 days,” said Morabito.

BARCS says cat and dog adoptions will continue as normal, while medical staff treat the ill canines over the 21-day period.

The infection is only contagious amongst dogs. That’s why they can still accept other animals, just not dogs during the 21-day period.

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BARCS says the cost of antibiotics alone is incredibly expensive.