State grants Kansas Humane Society exemption for sick dog fostering to avoid euthanization

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The state has granted the Kansas Humane Society a temporary exemption that will allow the fostering of dogs with the illness, kennel cough to avoid euthanization. 

This comes after worry that the shelter would have to euthanize the sick dogs that couldn’t be put in quarantine due to lack of space. 

Up until Thursday afternoon, the state told KSN that the Kansas Humane Society would not be allowed to foster or adopt out any dogs with kennel cough. 

Hours after KSN reached out to the state to ask why, officials say they’re giving the humane society a temporary exemption that could save dozens of animals lives. 

Kennel cough is a contagious illness contracted by dogs, similar to a cold for humans. 

“It’s highly infectious so it can pass from one dog to another relatively quickly,” said Melissa Juby, veterinarian at the Kansas Humane Society. “But, it is very rarely serious and most of the time, it resolves on its own or with a short course of antibiotics.”

Kansas law says the sick animals must be reported and cannot be sold or adopted out, but after learning the shelter would likely have to euthanize dogs with kennel cough, the state stepped in. 

The temporary exemption for the shelter will stay as long as the Pet Animal Advisory Board is updated on the healing progress of each animal. 

Justin Smith, State Animal Health Commissioner, said in a quote to KSN:

“The Kansas Department of Agriculture is committed to protecting animal health, and we work in partnership with our licensed facilities toward that mission. It is critical that animals are not sold or adopted out into the community with a contagious disease that could then spread to other animals in the community. Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can be life-threatening to dogs.”

Foster parents like Kendra Kornejo will take the dogs home to help nurse them back to health and once the dog is well and cleared by veterinarians, it will return to the shelter for adoption. 

“It’s really not that big of a deal,” Kornejo said. “It’s just really easy to take care of. They’re not sick enough to have to be put to sleep.”

Now, the humane society said it will need much more foster parents to help get the dogs well. 

If you want to foster, you can call the Kansas Humane Society at (316) 524-9196 or visit the website.

Mark Eby, president of the Kansas Humane Society, said they will continue working to get state laws changed in hopes of never having to euthanize a dog for what they say is an easily treatable illness. 

To read the Kansas state statute about adoption and sale of animals with illnesses and/or disease, click here.

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