Robertson County Animal Control closes due to virus - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Robertson County Animal Control closes due to virus

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After a highly contagious virus ran rampant among the dogs at Robertson County Animal Control, workers said they had to make a decision they didn't want to make. All the dogs were put down.

"We couldn't push it out to the public, because if an animal was infected with parvo and we sent it out, then you've got a chance it'll run widespread in the county," said Robertson County Animal Control director, David Blackwood. 

Dog beds are lined up outside the building, a sad reminder for Blackwood of the twelve dogs put down Tuesday.

"It wasn't a positive output," said Blackwood. "It wasn't something fun to do. In January, we didn't euthanize any animals at all. It's been 8 percent or lower every month, since I've taken over the shelter."

Last week, Blackwood said one dog began showing signs of parvo, a highly contagious and often fatal disease among animals, including dogs. As parvo cases quickly began to spread, Blackwood said a decision was made Tuesday morning.

"I contacted a local vet who's on my animal control committee and let him know," Blackwood explained. "His suggestion was to clean out the kennels and euthanize everything. Sterilize the building up and down to get rid of it. As we were euthanizing them, four more broke out with it. In a five day period, we had 11 cases of parvo."

Animal control is shut down through Monday while workers bleach every kennel and wipe down every wall.

Only two dogs are at the building now. Both were brought in Monday, and they're being kept in outside kennels.

"Lucky for them, they hadn't been exposed to it," said Blackwood. "Rescuers are supposed to come by today or tomorrow to pick them up, to get all the canines off our property."

In a two week period, Blackwood said three dogs were adopted out. He said he's been telling those families to watch for the signs of parvo. Those signs include the vomiting of yellow foam, a refusal to eat or drink and lethargic behavior.

While all the dogs at the Robertson County location were euthanized, the cats were not affected by the sickness. For now, animal control is not accepting anymore animals or going on any calls. All operations resume Monday.

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