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Parvo causes shelter depopulation

Over 30 dogs, puppies euthanized

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Posted: July 16, 2007 6:03 p.m.
Updated: July 31, 2007 5:00 a.m.
With a constant stream of complaints coming in about stray and unwanted animals, now isn't the best time for the Statesboro-Bulloch County Animal Shelter to be closed. However, another outbreak of the canine parvovirus caused shelter officials to call for a depopulation and close the shelter to incoming dogs and puppies until Thursday.
    "It was a decision I felt needed to be  made," said shelter manager Wendy Joiner. "We had it (parvo) in the adoption floor and in (the isolation area)."
    The shelter has been under quarantine since Friday, and won't be opened back up for business until Thursday, she said.
    The depopulation - where all canines are euthanized to end the cycle of contamination - took place Sunday, with 33 dogs and puppies being put down, she said.
    Parvo is highly contagious and while it is known as the "puppy killer," adult dogs can carry the virus without showing symptoms, thus further spreading the illness. Joiner made the decision to hold a depopulation so the virus can be destroyed and  the shelter can be disinfected. Parvo does not affect cats or humans, but a human who has been around an infected dog could transfer the virus.
    Joiner said some puppies recently came into the shelter with the virus, causing the most recent outbreak. Often animals carrying the virus can appear healthy and the virus is not detected until other animals have been exposed, she said.
    The shelter stays filled to capacity " at least two to three days a week," she said. With the shelter always full, it is difficult to contain the virus.
    "This is the number one reason we need a new facility," she said.
    The shelter will be cleaned and bleached before reopening Thursday morning, she said.
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