Jeffersonville animal shelter remains closed after distemper case

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by Bryan Baker

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 9, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 9 at 8:44 PM

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- The Josephine B. Ogle Animal Shelter in Jeffersonville will remain closed while workers clean and vaccinate about 30 dogs, one day after a veterinarian discovered an adopted puppy had the deadly canine distemper virus.
 
"We're going to quarantine the whole shelter, not let any (animals) in or out," Shelter Director Harry Wilder said.

Wilder went against the advice of about six to eight veterinarians who recommended the remaining dogs be euthanized in case the virus had spread.
 
"I'm taking a big gamble," he said. "I just don't want to do that."

Animals are given a 5-in-1 shot that covers diseases like parvo and distemper when they arrive at the shelter. Dogs that already have distemper, however, cannot be cured by the vaccination. Wilder said another case would mean he would have to consider euthanasia of the dogs. Wilder believes the dog didn't contract the virus at the shelter.

Distemper tests are considered expensive, hard to find, and unreliable, according to shelters. A spokeswoman at Louisville Metro Animal Services said the only accurate distemper test can be performed after the dog is already dead.
 
The news comes just one day after protesters questioned the conditions inside the shelter. Wilder says while the shelter is closed, they will repaint and repair some walls.
 
The shelter is expected to stay closed for the next couple of weeks.

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