Ringworm outbreak at York County SPCA forces cat euthanasia

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A ringworm outbreak at the York County SPCA has forced its staff to euthanize more than two dozen cats.  The decision’s created a lot of negative feedback from the community.  But SPCA officials made the tough decision because of a problem you can help control.

90 caged cats fill the quarantine room inside the York County SPCA.  But the cats aren’t up for adoption.  Animal care taker, Chrissy Proffit, is treating the cats for ringworm.

York County SPCA executive director, Melissa Smith, says likely a stray cat spread its undetected ringworm to 120 cats.

Smith says, “That was too large a number for us to successfully treat so we decided to decrease that number down to a more manageable amount we could quarantine.”

36 remaining cats were put down.

Smith says, “Decisions are never taken lightly. And the decisions we made in this situation were after hours of deliberation with two of our staff vets and management team.”

Proffit says, “The shelter has only so many spaces and the reality is we have to make tough decision, it’s heart breaking.”

It’s a decision Smith says is preventable by spaying or neutering your pet.

“How we as a community can stop the overpopulation problem which leads to overcrowding in shelters,” says Smith.

Staff members say two employees are also being treated for ringworm.

They say it took 12 days to make their decision to euthanize.  Within those days, the shelter received 63 additional cats.  It will be several weeks until the majority of the cats are up for adoption again.



  • Donna Savory

    She can "spin" the story any way she likes, but it was a POOR decision. When my four foster kittens were possibly exposed to ringworm last fall, the wonderful folks at Richmond Animal League, made sure that all exposed kittens/cats were immediately brought in for a "dipping solution" party; the parties were held twice weekly until the all clear came back that there were no ringworm spores on any of the shelter cats, kittens – those at the shelters or in foster homes …….. Ms. SMITH SHOULD BE FIRED.

  • Joy F.

    The decision wasn't made to euthanize 36 cats.. the decision was made by those who are suppose to prevent cruelty to animal and protect animals to MURDER 36 cats for a problem that is cheaply and effectively treated!!!

  • jennifer

    Wow – all I can say is wow…with all the uproar over the occurences at the York County SPCA, this reporter walks in, interviews Melissa Smith and her ardent supporters, and decides that it is the fault of the community at large. Rebecca Solomon disregarded the fact that the YSPCA never asked the community for help in dealing with the problem with either volunteer time, fostering, or monetary donations. Rebecca Solomon disregarded the fact that the YSPCA cannot produce any records of the meetings held within the days leading up to the murder of these animals. Rebecca Solomon disregarded the fact that Melissa Smith told a newspaper that ringworm happens every year in the spring but Melissa Smith cannot explain why they were not better prepared for the outbreak. Rebecca Solomon disregard the fact that the YSPCA's own website indicated they had over 400 cats prior to the killing but they only list 20 cats on their Petfinder.com shelter page for adoption after the killing. Rebecca Solomon just believes Melissa Solomon and her ardent supporters.

    • jennifer

      Rebecca Solomon should place an emergency phone call to the Greene State Prison in Waynesburg PA. Warden Martin should know that he has Jerry Sandusky falsely imprisoned. After all, Jerry Sandusky and all his ardent supporters have said from the start that Jerry did nothing wrong too.

  • silvia

    Is this the finest reporting York county has to offer? Where's the research? Did you do anything but copy that woman's statement? Good lord, no wonder no one reads the local papers anymore.

  • Krista

    Seriously? Euthanized due to ring worm? This is both disgusting and irresponsible. Shame on them for being an organization that is here to help animals and then killing them for such a minor (and easily controllable) ailment. I had a cat with ringworm who then passed it to me and guess what? A little hydrocortisone for both of us cleared it right up in a few days. This senseless act is basically the equivalent of euthanizing a someone for having a cold. I hope the people who donate money to them think twice before writing their next check.

  • Guest

    I wonder how many of you complaining about the death of these cats have volunteered to foster the overflow of cats there. How many hours a week do you spend at this shelter, helping? How much money a month do you donate to this shelter?

  • Guest

    I thought so. None. Nothing. Instead of whining about what has happened try offering your time and money to help. Perhaps if enough people had been available to foster these cats while the illness ran it's course they could have been saved.

  • Dot Davis

    Smith was not 'FORCED" to kill the cats!! She CHOSE TO kill them. This story is like something from Nazi Germany. Poor, poor kitties who lost the death lottery at the so-called SPCA. Melissa Smith needs to GO. She is rationalizing something horrid. If this were acceptable practice, it would be happening all the time. It is NOT. Smith doesn't care about animals. She should not be working with living creatures. Expedience has been the excuse for much evil in history. Sadly, 32 cats were trapped, exposed to ringworm in this "SHELTER" and killed to keep things neat and tidy. Oh , how very, very sad…I can't get over it.

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