Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Okay- so I never read the herald- it is mostly not really relevant news- I guess I should have picked up the paper this morning. http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/article_9378.php

Animal shelter forced to euthanize dogs
By DAVE MABELLJan 8, 2008, 03:58

Disease at the city’s animal shelter led to the destruction of a number of dogs over the holiday period — including one puppy that had already been adopted.Now that pet’s would-be owners are asking why Lethbridge doesn’t save the grief by vaccinating all cats and dogs when they arrive at the city-owned shelter. At city hall, however, officials say it’s not quite that easy.The puppies and dogs were reportedly put down on Dec. 31, following an outbreak of the parvovirus. Their deaths followed the destruction of 55 kittens or cats earlier in the fall, after feline distemper was discovered at the shelter.Christy Hadford, who’d already paid for the pet and signed its adoption papers, says the city should isolate and vaccinate pets when they’re taken to the shelter — “instead of wiping out entire populations of cats and dogs.”“The vaccinations are cheap and the cost can be tacked onto the adoption fee,” she points out. “It wouldn’t cost the city anything.”Hadford says she and her husband visited the shelter just before Christmas, as part of their search for “the perfect dog” to replace one who’d died a few years back. “Our friends had suggested the city shelter as they had just adopted a beautiful dog there and knew his sisters were still at the shelter,” she explains. “My husband and I went and fell in love with the sweetest three-month-old shepherd/malemute cross.”Shelter staff told her the pup could remain there a few more days — once it had been paid for — while the adopting couple spent Christmas out of town. “My husband asked them about parvo, for the sake of the puppies, but the individual at the shelter said, ‘We don’t have to worry about parvo here.’”Satisfied that the staff knew best, Hadford said she left the pet but planned to take it home Jan. 2.On Dec. 31, however, a shelter staff member called to report their dog — and all the shelter’s puppies — were testing positive for parvo and they were all being euthanized.About 10 pups were destroyed, Hadford says. Shelter officials, contacted Monday, would not say how many pets had been killed.But Dave Henley, regulatory services manager for the city, confirmed the parvo outbreak resulted in a number of animals being put down over the holiday period. While it’s not a respiratory illness, he said, parvo is easily spread if an infected pup or dog contacts another.Shelter visitors can also spread the disease, he adds, if they pet or touch more than one animal.That risk couldn’t be eliminated by vaccination, Henley says, because the protection wouldn’t be immediate — and parvo has a two-week incubation period. It’s a two-step process, he adds, with the first shot costing the city $50 and the second one as much or more.“We have to allocate our resources,” including covering veterinarian services for animals who’ve been hit by vehicles — there’s a fee, whether the animal is treated or destroyed — as well as paying for the shelter’s operation and for bylaw enforcement officers. On the legal front, Henley says the city cannot vaccinate any dog within the first 72 hours, if its owners can be traced through dog tag identification.The shelter’s operating policies, he adds, were revised when the new shelter opened in 2004. They’re similar to those in effect in Calgary’s animal shelters.The city’s dog control bylaw was also revised at that time, Henley says, but a similar bylaw aimed at controlling the city’s cat population was never enacted. © Copyright by Lethbridge Herald.com

I am pretty speechless at the moment. How Sad- when it is so preventable. The shelter here is horrible and they are not willing to change. The city doesn't care, and unfortunately it won't get better. It is truly a horrible day.