Dog dies from parvovirus at animal shelter

By Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJuly 10, 2013 

A homeless dog died of a highly contagious virus last month, three days after the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter was called to rescue it.

As a result, the shelter has stopped all dog adoptions until Tuesday to make sure no other animals get sick.

The Australian-mix sheep dog, about a year old, showed no signs of being ill when she was picked up June 27 in Richland, said Angela Zilar, director of the shelter.

But a day later the dog fell ill and died from canine parvovirus the next day.

The shelter was immediately quarantined from any adoptions until a 10-day incubation period passes to make sure none of the other shelter animals were infected, she added.

"When we picked the dog up on that Thursday she showed no symptoms of being sick until Saturday," Zilar said. "We isolated her right away but sadly she died on Sunday. Luckily, no other animals have shown signs of the virus. But adoptions won't be made available again until July 16."

During the incubation period, the shelter put out a plea for help from as many foster families as possible to care for as many of the healthy animals in the shelter that hadn't been exposed to the dog as possible during the incubation.

Zilar remains suspicious of some people who turn in dogs to the shelter claiming they are strays.

"The woman who called us about this dog claimed she found her near Delafield and Gillespie streets," Zilar said. "But I have my doubts whether that's true. All too often people won't tell the truth about a pet they don't want anymore and turn it over to the animal shelter claiming its a stray.

"It's truly sad people can't be more honest than that because we'll take the animal either way. It's just helpful if they can give us some background on the animal," she said.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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