Distemper Closes Down County Animal Shelter

An outbreak of distemper has forced the shutdown of an animal shelter here in Eastern Carolina.

The Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center on Clingman Street in Goldsboro will be closed to new animals for the next couple of weeks and those dogs at the shelter showing symptoms of distemper will have to be euthanized.

Puppies infected with distemper were brought into the shelter earlier this week.

Distemper spreads through aerosol droplets and through contact with infected bodily fluids including nasal and ocular secretions, feces and urine from six to 22 days after exposure. It can also be spread by contaminated food and water. The virus is destroyed by routine cleaning with disinfectants, detergents, or drying. It does not survive in the environment for more than a few hours at room temperature, but can survive for a few weeks in shady environments.

"We don't want to take any chances with this spreading," explained Animal Control Director Vicki Falconer. "That's why we decided to close the shelter for the next few weeks. We will spend the time cleaning the building and scrubbing the porous surfaces every day."

While no dogs will be accepted from pet owners and no adoptions will go out for the next three weeks, animal control staff says it will continue to pick up strays.

Distemper can be avoided if pet owners vaccinate their animals.

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