Williamson Co. Animal Control reopens after distemper outbreak - WKRN News 2

Williamson Co. Animal Control reopens after distemper outbreak

Posted: Updated: April 2, 2013 09:31 PM
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. -

Williamson County Animal Control (WCAC) will reopen for dog adoptions on Friday following an outbreak of distemper.

One case of distemper was confirmed March 22, shortly after animal control officers picked up three stray dogs.

The adoption center immediately went into quarantine, which prevented any dog adoptions and limited the number of dogs coming into the facility.

Distemper is a contagious and deadly viral illness with no cure. The case confirmed at WCAC affected only canines.

Nearly 40 dogs housed at the facility during the outbreak were quarantined. Five dogs showing signs of infection had to be euthanized.

"It's kind of common practice to just euthanize the entire shelter and start over. You know, deep clean and start over," said WCAC Community Relations Coordinator Mark Basenberg. "We took the approach that would save the most lives."

Thirty-five dogs were saved, while incoming dogs were limited and isolated to prevent further infection.

Even staff and volunteer access was restricted.

"They didn't get much human contact," Basenberg said of the dogs on Tuesday evening. "Today is the first day we've allowed our senior volunteers to come back into the building in a kind of controlled reopening on walking the dogs. So today is the first day they've really gotten out of their kennels and gotten their exercise. It was good day!"

The quarantine lasted two weeks to cover the typical incubation period of distemper illness and to ensure the remaining dogs were healthy.

Since the quarantine, the building has been disinfected and the dogs have received an additional distemper vaccine on top of the one they were given upon arrival to the facility.

Basenberg told Nashville's News 2 the public should not be hesitant to adopt from the center.

"[There is] very, very low risk," he said. "The virus can only survive outside the host body for about an hour, and so it's easy to kill."

He added, "We've been sticking to the two-week quarantine, and based on the results so far, we feel like we're very safe."

The WCAC Adoption Center will reopen Friday, April 5, with approximately 40 dogs available for adoption.

Adoption hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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