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Once 20 dogs find homes, shelter can finish distemper clean up

By Megan Workman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Kanawha-Charleston Animal Shelter will be able to completely clean the site of last week's distemper outbreak once the 20 adoptable dogs that are still at the shelter find a new home, the shelter's director said Wednesday.

Donna Clark said shelter employees have cleaned the building one section at a time but once the space is cleaned, dogs are then placed back in that section so "we can't totally clean the whole space right now."

Once all of the dogs are adopted, everything will be wiped and sprayed down using bleach and water, she said.

The cleanup will be finished in two days but the shelter needs to be empty to clean and dry overnight, she said.

The shelter will be closed for another week, she said, except for the adopt-a-thon hours scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. tomorrow and until the dogs are gone.

Most of the dogs left available to adopt are older, big dogs, which shouldn't deter people from adopting, Clark said.

The older dogs are the "adult package instead of the puppy" and they don't "chew on everything in the house," Clark said.

The adoption response since Friday -- when nearly 50 dogs were adopted in two days following an outbreak of distemper that was discovered Dec. 19 -- has "slowed down," Clark said.

"I expected it to slow down because everybody is busy with their own lives right now for the holidays," Clark said. "I'm happy that so many have been adopted but I'd like to say zero [were left]. I'd like to say everybody got a home."

The shelter has attempted to save as many dogs as possible since the outbreak. Four veterinarians examined all 96 dogs at the shelter last Thursday to determine which are healthy and which might need to be put to sleep.

Four dogs were found to be sick and were euthanized. The other 52 -- mostly stray dogs that just arrived at the shelter -- have been held in quarantine for observation.

Thirteen dogs remained in quarantine Wednesday but seven were adoptable, Clark said.

The dogs still being treated should be up for adoption if they continue to improve, she said.

Six of the seven adoptable dogs -- like many of the dogs in the past week -- have had their adoption fees paid for. The seventh dog's fees are half-paid by people who "couldn't take a dog in [but who] came in and paid the fee for someone else," Clark said previously.

People should call the shelter in advance at 304-342-1576 after they choose a dog from the shelter's website, www.wvanimalshelter.com.

To see more pictures of the adoptable dogs, visit the animal shelter's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WVAnimalShelter.

Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113


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