ST. PAULS — A distemper scare at the Robeson County pound is erecting a new hurdle for anyone who would like to adopt a puppy from the facility. A puppy can still be adopted, but the person doing the adoption will face more paperwork.
“We got a recommendation from a local vet to hold the puppies for two weeks, but we can also consider adoptions on a case-by-case basis,” said Jeff Bass, the pound’s manager. “... If we have people willing to take them and quarantine them, then I’ll let ’em have them.”
Bass said that none of the animals suffer with distemper, but the added precaution is because some puppies that were at the pound several weeks ago were later diagnosed with the virus.
An animal rescue group out of Raleigh took some puppies from the facility to find them new homes, Bass said. At least one of those puppies later tested positive for distemper, he said. On Thursday the county was notified that one of two puppies adopted from the pound had tested for distemper and had to be euthanized, Bass said.
“These might have been an isolated thing,” he said.
The shelter’s consulting veterinarian, Curt Locklear of Lumberton, suggested suspending puppy adoptions for two weeks or allowing puppy adoptions only after the prospective owners sign a waiver, according to Bass.
Canine distemper virus spreads through the air and body fluids, and can be transmitted through food and water. Dogs ages 4 months to 4 years old are particularly vulnerable. The disease attacks the animal’s nervous system.
“Mostly if affects young puppies, 6 months old or so, due to the (still developing) immune system and all,” he said.
Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, and discharge from eyes and nose
“It’s not our intention to adopt out a sick animal. If we see some signs, they’ll be euthanized,” Bass said.
On Friday the pound had about 15 puppies, and all appeared healthy, Bass said.
Bass said the situation is common at animal pounds that take in animals with unknown histories. He said the pound’s staff makes it clear to anyone adopting an animal “that it is their sole responsibility to get to the vet as soon as possible.”
The adoption fee is $25, which includes a rabies shot if the animal is at least 3 months old.
The pound’s operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
The pound is located at 255 Landfill Road in St. Pauls. The telephone number is 865-2200.