Sullivan Co. Animal Shelter to reopen Wednesday for cat adoptions after eighth dog dies


SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – An eighth dog has died today from the parvo outbreak at the Sullivan County Animal Shelter. Deaths and euthanasias have occurred since the disease closed the shelter down on July first. 

The shelter announced this afternoon that they will reopen tomorrow, but only for cat adoptions. Dog intake and adoptions are still halted until further notice.

This message was shared on the Animal Shelter of Sullivan County Facebook page Tuesday evening.

“If they aren’t vaccinating at intake, then that’s a big weak spot,” said Dr. Becky DeBolt, assistant clinical professor of shelter medicine at the University of Tennessee. 

Shelter medicine experts say lack of spaying, neutering, and vaccination of pets in Sullivan County increased the likelihood of a parvo entering the shelter. But the litter of puppies who began the latest outbreak wasn’t vaccinated when they arrived at the shelter.

 This morning the University of Tennessee mobile veterinary lab came to the shelter to conduct parvo prevention training with the staff. Much of the focus was on teaching proper deep clean procedures. 

DeBolt also said lack of consistent staffing may have helped the disease spread during the shelter’s management transition period.

“Knowing that they’ve had a few bouts of this, sort of indicates that there’s probably a breakdown in the daily maintenance in the shelter,” DeBolt said. “So our goal is to come and see sort of how they’re cleaning, what their cleaning protocols are like, and that’s going to be one of the biggest areas where we can help them.”

SEE ALSO: Shelter prepares to reopen after another parvo outbreak claims 7 dogs

A board put in place by the county has been interviewing potential new managers for the shelter. This became necessary when the previously appointed manager quit on July 1st after one day on the job. 

Peter Hanson has served as acting manager while the shelter has been closed. He said the University of Tennessee’s instructions will hopefully stop parvo from coming back again.

“Hopefully we can eliminate larger outbreaks,” Hanson said. “When animals come in we can see the signs, knowing whether or not they have it. Because usually when the signs show up it’s too late.”

Stay with News Channel 11 as we continue to follow this developing story.

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