Rolla Animal Shelter, city recycling services temporarily closed due to positive COVID-19 cases

Lori Amos
The Rolla Daily News

Butz said the animal shelter has three full-time employees who do field enforcement where they pick up strays, roadkill, respond to reports of barking and the mistreatment of animals. The employees also care for the animals at the shelter, which includes feeding animals and cleaning as well as processing in-take animals, adoptions and re-claimed pets.

Butz said one of the three employees tested positive for COVID-19 and the health department has quarantined the two other employees who will watch for symptoms. “The remaining two officers will work staggered shifts to feed and clean the shelter twice a day, but we aren’t comfortable having the employees engaged with the public and vice versa,” Butz said.

Butz said the other employees were tested on Wednesday, and city administration is waiting for the results from the health department.

Butz said if the results come back negative, the health department will still want them quarantined for 10 to 14 days due to the high risk of transmission.

No animal control calls will be addressed or responded to during the two weeks that the animal shelter is closed to limit contact with the public. Rolla police officers will now be handling animal control emergencies, Rolla Animal Shelter Director John Redshaw said in an update on Facebook Thursday.

Animals will not be impounded, adopted or returned for the next two weeks. Police will not impound any stray animals unless it is considered an absolute emergency, Redshaw said. 

Meanwhile, Butz said the city had to also suspend recycling services as three of the five employees at Rolla’s Environmental Services Department have tested positive for COVID-19.

Butz said, “We have had the entire department tested yesterday – with at least one additional positive test. If positive cases spread in the department, we will struggle with meeting trash service obligations.” 

“We’ve worked very hard to keep COVID-19 out of our workplaces, but with more positive cases and now the return of students, we need to step up our safety precautions,” he added.