Care Southcoast Animal Shelter is under state quarantine after an outbreak of an unusually virulent strain of a respiratory virus killed about a dozen cats.

The city's animal control director Manny Maciel says that he's seen the "Calici" virus in other cat shelters in the city but hasn't seen it this bad before. The quarantine order was issued Tuesday by the State Division of Animal Health under the Department of Agricultural Resources.

Dr. Kimberly Kleinfeld, the shelter's veterinarian, says that about a dozen cats at the Hathaway Road shelter have died since Feb. 16 from the upper respiratory virus and another 30-35 are sick and four or five more are showing no signs of the illness.

Susan Goldsmith, manager of the animal shelter says the virus is "common" and hits many shelters and added CARE shut down operations "immediately" after learning of the presence of the virus there.