The team at West Place Animal Sanctuary were feeding their animals on a typical October evening when they discovered that Dottie, a young and healthy chicken, seemed unwell. She looked like she was asleep and could barely stay upright, which was alarming given her age and health. By the next morning, Dottie had passed away. The sanctuary immediately contacted the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and tests confirmed that Dottie had succumbed to avian flu. The DEM, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), planned to euthanize the remaining birds to prevent the spread of the disease, which had already taken the lives of 38 rescue birds. West Place endured a four-month “fallow” period before resuming the acceptance of birds rescued from cases of abuse, neglect, and cruelty. They urge others to follow USDA guidelines to keep their flocks safe and have set up a memorial fund and volunteer-designed shirts to honor the fallen birds.

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