Amarillo Animal Welfare and Management Department Reports Distemper Case Causing Center Closure


AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) – Amarillo’s Animal Welfare and Management Department is currently closed to the public due to distemper from one of the stray dogs they picked up.

Distemper is a highly contagious, incurable disease affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems of dogs.

The disease can be transmitted between foxes, skunks, raccoons and other animals, with these airborne particles lasting up to 12 hours on a single surface.

People can also transmit this disease to animals through their hands and shoes.

It is a growing problem in the state, but cases of stray dogs are starting to be reported in our area.

“We hear a lot about them,” said Cheryl Goswick, staff member at Gracie’s Center. “We’ve been out for the last few months, and it’s very scary because it only takes one case to get through your entire rescue.”

The service receives an average of 40 to 50 calls per day to pick up stray dogs, but they can also have distemper.

“When the community calls them to pick them up, we pick them up. It is our responsibility, ”said Victoria Medley, director of the Amarillo Animal Welfare and Management Department. “But understand that it puts the shelter at greater risk to try to mitigate that. We have over 300 animals there right now.

The department has also worked with officers to find the owners of the stray dogs they catch on the street in order to prevent dogs from entering the shelter.

Medical experts share that vaccinations are essential in preventing dogs from getting sick.

“I would encourage people to say if you have a dog you want to find a home for it, okay we support you. Let’s do it the right way, ”said Clayton J. Cobb, assistant professor of general veterinary medicine at the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine. “Get them vaccinated first, keep them for a few weeks.”

Amarillo’s animal management and welfare department doesn’t know when they will reopen so people can adopt dogs.

For all those who wish to adopt in the meantime, you can go online on their website and send them an email for which dog you would like to adopt once the center reopens.

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