Originally published May 19 on KTVB.COM.
Avian influenza killed more than 50 birds at Dominifarm Animal Sanctuary in Kuna after a sick goose infected the rest of the birds.
“The goose looked completely all right,” Dominifarm Owner Dominique Delobbe said.
Dominifarm welcomed in the goose on May 9. Within 48 hours, 13 birds died from an illness. Delobbe’s veterinarian contacted the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, which tested the remaining birds, finding avian flu — commonly known as the bird flu — in five birds. The department euthanized all birds on Dominifarm in response.
“It hit us really hard and really quickly. Our birds got sick so fast,” Dominifarm volunteer Sara Meyrovich said. “A lot of these birds were with us for years, and we were very close with them.”
Bird flu is moving through Idaho, and is especially prevalent in the Treasure Valley, Idaho Fish and Game wrote in a press release. The virus has no treatment or vaccine and must run its course.
“We are aware sick and dead birds are being seen by the public in many ponds, irrigation ditches, etc., especially in the Treasure Valley, and we do not know how long this avian influenza outbreak will last,” Fish and Game’s Wildlife Health Program Coordinator Stacey Dauwalter said. “Infected geese, ducks, and other birds will continue to be found until the outbreak has abated.”
People should leave sick birds alone and wash their hands if they touch a bird, according to Fish and Game. It is not common for people to catch the avian flu.
“We’re cleaning everything out. Whether an animal was in there or not. All the straw is coming out. All the hay is coming out. We’re putting all fresh hay in, fresh blankets in,” Dominifarm volunteer Gail Muzzey said.
After the outbreak, Dominifarm cannot have birds for 150 days. By the sanctuary’s own decision, it is temporality closed to sort out its next steps.
“It’s traumatic. It’s like when people know they have to put their dog down. It’s very hard. When it’s so many animals, it’s a huge shock,” Delobbe said.
Fish and Game encourages the public to report sick or dead wild birds in an effort to monitor the avian flu spread.
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