The City’s Animal Shelter began taking in dogs again this morning after stopping intake two weeks ago to monitor for canine distemper. Dog adoptions will resume Monday, May 22.


Working with the state health department, the shelter stemmed the spread of the disease. Distemper is caused by a highly contagious virus that affects dogs’ intestines, breathing and nervous systems. It is usually transmitted through fluids and is often carried by varmints. It cannot be cured and is often fatal. Vaccinating dogs prevents distemper. Cats cannot get distemper.

After reviewing how it houses animals, the shelter’s staff will separate lost and stray dogs brought to the shelter from the rest of the population. Once they are proven to be healthy, strays will be moved into general population kennels.

The change could mean that when the area for strays is full, the shelter will deny intake until space opens. That will ensure that potentially diseased animals are kept away from healthy dogs.

“We hope we never have to turn animals away,” said James Flores, who manages the shelter. “But this experience has made clear the need to keep dogs we don’t know to be healthy away from those we do. Again, distemper is prevented through vaccination. Like spay and neuter, making sure your dog gets its shots is key to having a healthy pet.”


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