Odessa Animal Shelter May Start Vaccinating Animals Upon Entry

Odessa Animal Shelter May Start Vaccinating Animals Upon Entry

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - A local group is looking to bring a healthy change to the Odessa Animal Shelter.

"We're in a crisis mode and we have to get the diseases under control," Susie Smith, a board member for the Odessa Animal Advisory Committee, said.
"There's been such an outbreak of distemper and parvo(virus) that even if we get these animals out, keeping them healthy has been almost impossible."

The shelter houses nearly 100 dogs, some of which become innocent victims of their own kind.

"We go out and pick up strays and aggressive animals and we bring them into the shelter. But we're bringing the outside environment into the shelter which makes the shelter susceptible to the disease that an animal has that we bring in here," Lt. Jerry Harvell with Odessa Police Department and Animal Control, said. 

So the advisory board came up with what they call an "emergency" proposition to vaccinate dogs upon entry into the shelter.

The shots would be the first line of defense from related risks. Currently, Animal Control is only able to physically screen the dogs and there is no way to quarantine affected animals. But under the new program, a local vet will be added into the mix to treat the pups. Dr. Henry Lide has volunteered to take on the role.

Additionally, the city has become fond of the idea and has also committed to the change.

"The city has stepped in and said, 'You know what, this is an emergency. This is a crisis and we're going to take care of that for you and budget that into next year's budget,'" Clark said. 

Officials said the vaccines wouldn't be too costly either. All the support has both parties feeling excited about what's to come.

"Every dog in the shelter deserves to find a home that it could be loved in forever, and of course that's a great outcome," Clark said.

"Once they give me the marching orders of what I'm supposed to do then we'll make sure it happens," Harvell said.

This program hasn't kicked off just yet but they're hoping to get it started as soon as possible. Officials have talked to various divisions and subcommittees are in the last stages of the legal process.