21 Dogs killed at Local Animal Shelter

If you have not heard about the mass murder at our local shelter, please read below

PROVIDENCE —Twenty-one pit bulls at the Providence Animal Control Center have beenput to death in order to contain an outbreak of the fast-spreadingparvovirus, according to city officials.

The municipal facilityhas been under quarantine since July 7, the day after a dog was noticedwith a symptom of the virus.

“They really don’t show any signsuntil it’s too late,” said David A. Holden, city director of animalcontrol. The virus “spreads super easy and it’s very, very difficult tokill.”

The disease is fatal to dogs without extensive treatmentwith fluids and antibiotics, and pit bulls are especially susceptible,Holden said Thursday. If officials do not move promptly in a situationsuch as this, Holden said, the disease might wipe out the facility’sentire canine population and could spread to the outside.

“Theonly thing to do” with a group of dogs in a kennel or shelter “is toeuthanize them once they show signs,” he said. A tranquilizer isadministered by a veterinarian and then a lethal injection.

Thefacility has a capacity of 40 dogs, so the toll has been about half ofthe population. The majority of the dogs there are pit bulls, emblematicof their popularity in the city.

Strays that the city picks upare being taken for the time being to the Pawtucket animal shelter. Ifno more dogs come down with the disease, the quarantine could be liftedas early as July 21, according to Dr. Scott N. Marshall, stateveterinarian.

Twelve dogs remain in the Providence facility, ofwhich 2 are pit bulls that have been segregated because they are biters,according to Holden. Two of the 12 have identified owners, who may notclaim them until the quarantine expires.

Parvovirus primarilyattacks a dog’s bone marrow and intestines and causes its victim severediarrhea and vomiting and can leave a dog susceptible to otherinfections, Marshall explained. Stresses such as heat and confinementwith other animals makes a dog more vulnerable to contracting thedisease.

An animal control technician noticed blood in a dog’svomit on July 6 and that dog immediately was taken to Mass-Rhode IslandVeterinary Emergency Services in Swansea, Mass., where the existence ofparvovirus was confirmed and the dog was euthanized. Within two hours ofthe blood having been seen, the Providence facility was locked down,Marshall was notified, and technicians had begun washing down thefacility with bleach, Holden recalled.

In accordance with statelaw Marshall issued a quarantine notice the next day, which means thatno dogs may be moved in or out and disease-control measures aremandated. Cats are immune to the disease, so the place where cats arekept is not under quarantine, Holden noted.

Parvovirus cannot betransmitted to humans, according to the Rhode Island Department ofHealth.

Inoculation can protect a dog from parvovirus, but Holdensaid an apparently increasing number of dogs in Providence are notinoculated.

On average, Marshall said, there are several outbreakseach year in Rhode Island at state-licensed facilities such as kennels,shelters and pet stores.

In another dog issue, Holden said 70dogs were found Wednesday in a house in the Wanskuck neighborhood wherethey were being kept illegally by a woman who recently moved there. Thepreliminary count was 50 dogs.

Most of the dogs, generally smallanimals such as Chihuahuas and dachshunds, have been distributed forsafekeeping to municipal animal-control facilities in Pawtucket, NorthProvidence and East Providence and to the Rhode Island chapter of theSociety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

By law animalcontrol officials may seize any dog that is not licensed and/orvaccinated. Providence municipal ordinance also prohibits anyone fromkeeping more than three dogs at a residence. Holden said the woman, whoclaimed to be a dog breeder but had no proof of it, was allowed to keepthree. The rest were taken away.