COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Dogs up for adoption on the north side of Columbus have been plagued by an outbreak of respiratory infections.

About 70% of dogs at the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center have been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, a disease that has become more prevalent among the four-legged animals in central Ohio and across the U.S, according to Kaye Persinger, director of the Franklin County Animal Care and Control.

“Some of it’s as simple as a cold, but we have had some cases where its actually turned into like a pneumonia,” Persinger said.

With more than 230 dogs under the shelter’s care, she said the facility is at its capacity, as it normally oversees 200 dogs at a time.

Adoptions continue to happen, but Persinger said the rate at which owners bring their dogs back to the shelter is nearly double the rate at which they’re adopted.

“We’re doing the best we can to manage that, but again it’s just, we might have 10 dogs adopted and 20 dogs come in in a day, so it is not an easy task,” she said.

However, there are some signs of relief.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners recently allocated about $80,000 for additional testing and treatment to help combat the upper respiratory infections within dogs at the shelter, Persinger said. Those funds will also be used for personal protective equipment for staff and cleaning materials for the kennels.

But ultimately, Persinger said the best method of protecting dogs from the infection is by adopting or fostering them.

“The dog is going to fare much better at a home than the constant exposure here because in addition, we have all the stress at the shelter,” she said.

If you or a loved one is interested in adopting or fostering an animal, head to the shelter’s website.