Odessa Animal Shelter gets much needed help during distemper virus scare

Odessa Animal Shelter gets much needed help during distemper virus scare
Distemper warning sign

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Puppies and dogs alike were brought out of the Odessa Animal Shelter by the dozen December 6.

Some might say their fuzzy faces had a look of relief or they were enjoying a breath of fresh air.

The adults carrying them out of a possible contamination zone were no different as they shared the dogs’ look of relief.

Odessa Animal Shelter gets much needed help during distemper virus scare

The animal shelter has been dealing with a possible outbreak of the distemper virus, highly contagious and sometimes fatal to dogs, since November 28.

Fears surrounding the virus peaked December 5 when a member of the Odessa Animal Control advisory board posted on Facebook that a decision had been made to euthanize all the animals at the facility.

The news began a call to action from a number of rescue organizations, some local some as far away as Austin, including American Pets Alive!.

The Austin based group holds a reputation for helping shelters overcome disease outbreaks.

After receiving the news December 5, American Pets Alive! flew into Midland the next day and got right to work.

Officials from the rescue group said they assessed the situation Thursday and recommended several policy changes which the Odessa Animal Shelter has been open to.

Their plan of action begins by decreasing the population of dogs without any sign of illness through rescues and placement in other shelters. Then, to isolate the ill dogs and sanitize the building.

The group got some major help today from the rescue group Keys to Happiness that operates out of Monahans.

The rescue organization pulled out 40 dogs to take to their own facility where the dogs can be isolated out of precaution.

With the help of these organizations, officials from the Odessa Animal Control say they’ve been able to dramatically reduce the population of animals.

This reduction will allow them to isolate and treat the animals that may still be ill.

Officials believe the current number of infected dogs is around ten.

Meanwhile, adoptions have resumed at the animal shelter, though intake has not.

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