The Humane Society Waterville Area reopened Tuesday, eight weeks after an outbreak of ringworm forced the shelter to close.

“Thanks for sticking with us!” the shelter’s website declared Tuesday.

The shelter closed after two dogs were brought to the shelter with their mouths full of porcupine quills and, as it turned out, ringworm.

Buddy, the white terrier abandanoned at the shetler, was first suspected to have it and they quarantined the shelter. Once they found out it was definite, the shelter was closed. Officials first hoped the shelter would open within days, but the problem was too widesepread.

Ringworm is an infection that feeds on material on the dog’s outer layer of skin and appears in dime-sized circles on human and animal skin. While the infection isn’t fatal, it spreads easily and can be transferred to humans.

The staff spent the last two months cleaning and sanitizing the building, repairing floors, cleaning ventilation ducts, remodeling and repainting.

The shutdown cost thousands of dollars to replacing bedding and other contaminated items as well as for ringworm test kits, which cost $65 to $85 each. The shelter then had a further setback when computer problems erased its membership lists in May.

“Thank you to the many who donated so much during this time,” Margi Hayes, outreach coordinator, said in the press release. “Both money and goods such as litter, bedding, and cat food, as well as plain old sweat.”

Hayes said the Maine State Department of Animal Welfare has given the shelter the all-clear to open.

During the shutdown, the shelter’s 110 cats and 18 dogs were placed with foster homes or sent to Somerset and Kennebec Valley humane socieites.

Humane Society executives said the shelter still needs financial help and is actively seeking donations of items such as food, litter and bedding. Donations can be mailed to HSWA, 100 Webb Road, Waterville, or online at hswa.org.

The shelter askes those with questions contact it at 873-2430.


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