Rockwall Shelter Puts Down 11 Dogs After Disease Outbreaks

Rockwall shelter sees outbreaks of two viruses in the last two weeks

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    Rockwall is under fire from animal activists after two disease outbreaks at the city's shelter in the last two weeks.

    The Rockwall Animal Shelter euthanized 11 dogs because of outbreaks of an upper respiratory virus and parvovirus, a disease spread through the feces.

    Disease Outbreak at Rockwall Animal Shelter

    [DFW] Disease Outbreak at Rockwall Animal Shelter
    The Rockwall animal shelter is under fire from animal activists after two disease outbreaks in two weeks. (Published Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011)

    "The challenges, of course, in the shelter setting is that you have a high population of dogs that are being housed in a fairly small location," veterinarian Dr. Curt Avery said. "When you have a dog that's infected, who knows what they have when they come off the streets?"

    Volunteers with the rescue group Rockwall Pets blame the city for not vaccinating animals as soon as they’re brought to the shelter.

    "To do vaccinations upon intake would help a whole lot," said Kay Hancock of Rockwall Pets. "If we could get that done, maybe it would prevent this from ever happening again. Obviously, there isn't anything we can do to change that."

    City leaders say the practice was not part of the shelter’s previous protocol, but said the city would start paying for vaccinations at intake because of the recent problems.

    "There was discussion of how long it takes those immunities to develop as opposed to how long the dogs are in the shelter," said Rick Crowley, assistant city manager. "At this point, we do think it's in our best interest."

    Crowley said the city would pay for the vaccinations and would also accept donations because money is always tight.

    So far, 31 dogs have been quarantined. Officials said the parvovirus was spreading with animals in isolation.

    Those dogs will not be available for adoption until they have been evaluated by the veterinarian.

    Rockwall has a goal of saving 90 percent of the animals in its shelter. The rate is now at 85 percent.