published Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Walker County Animal Shelter reopens

  • photo
    Walker County Animal Shelter manager Alison Smith holds resident cat Brisco who was adopted by the shelter staff. Photo by Katie Ward

Things have been running smoothly at the Walker County Animal Shelter after it reopened to the public on July 11 following a two-week quarantine prompted by the death of a handful of dogs from suspected parvovirus.

"Life is good," shelter manager Alison Smith said Friday. "We haven't had anything else come in and just up and die."

Smith chose to shut the shelter after seemingly healthy dogs brought in separately by two men died within 48 hours.

"We'd never seen anything like that. Not that sudden," she said. "Never fine one day and gone the next."

While the quarantine was the first at the Walker County Animal Shelter, parvovirus isn't rare, according to Dawn Smith, the office manager at the Regional Institute for Veterinary Emergencies and Referrals at 2132 Amnicola Highway in Chattanooga.

"Right now, we don't have any [parvovirus-infected dogs]," Dawn Smith said, but the animal hospital regularly sees pets infected with the often-fatal illness.

Workers at the Walker County shelter, which celebrated its sixth anniversary Wednesday, used the quarantine time to scrub down the facility with stronger cleaning chemicals than they use when animals are present, Smith said.

"We were able to do deep cleaning," she said.

But the shelter is not extremely dirty anyway, she said, noting that an exterminator who visited recently told her, "This place is incredibly clean."

"I have a good staff. I have some really good people," Smith said.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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