Officials at the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter said they are trying to turn a negative situation into a positive one after nearly two hundred dogs had to be put down recently due to a distemper outbreak.
Veterinarian Dr. William Hagans said while it was heartbreaking, it does shed light on a larger problem that they cannot fix without the help of the community.
There are the fortunate few dogs still alive at the shelter, after 198 had to be euthanized following a distemper outbreak.
“It does not live well in the environment but with the shelter itself in the situation where they have so many, it is highly contagious from one dog to another, due to volume,” said Hagans.
The shelter cannot accept animal drop-offs of any kind right now, so it is undergoing some renovations in the meantime. Hagans said after the distemper outbreak, everything was affected.
“Proper methods of sanitation means having an environment that won't be contaminated,” said Hagans.
“Right now they had porous floors, which allows the virus itself to seep down into the concrete and incubate there.”
Betsey, a pregnant rat terrier is one of the “Lucky 13” dogs that did not have to be euthanized. All of the dogs were tested beforehand.
“They are very lucky, they actually tested positive at first to show that they were exposed, however now their body has cleared the virus from their system and they are testing negative,” said Hagans. “So now, they can survive, and have a chance at having a good life.”
Hagans said they are trying to start anew and get those dogs to rescue homes, but the situation illustrates a major problem they face every day.
“At least these dogs had a reason to be euthanized,” said Hagans, who has to put the dogs down.
“The majority those dogs that go down there are on a daily basis are euthanized anyway, just due to over population.”
The shelter is expected to re-open on Aug. 6. Hagans said they are in need of volunteers and donations as well.
Officials said the shelter serves four counties on a very limited budget.