INDUSTRY — A highly-infectious, fast-moving virus has led to the temporary shutdown of the Franklin County Animal Shelter.

Canine parvovirus was first detected in three puppies Wednesday morning, and shelter executive director Heidi Jordan said one later died from the fast moving virus, taking an emotional toll on the staff.

“The puppies are especially vulnerable,” said Jordan.

She said the shelter took in 27 puppies from Tennessee this week, and all the dogs were tested on arrival and then retested.

“But something happened somehow somewhere,” she said.

The puppies were taken as part of a growing movement in which dogs from southern shelters, which are often overcrowded and have high kill rates, are taken to shelters in northern states, which often have fewer dogs than people looking to adopt.

She said it was the first time the Franklin County Animal Shelter had ever taken a transport from a southern shelter. The puppies were intended to go to a shelter in New Jersey, but when it was full, Jordan was called and asked if the shelter could take the puppies there instead.

There is nothing that can be given to the dogs to prevent the virus, Jordan said, and shelter staff can only treat the symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea as they appear. She estimates the shelter will be closed for the next two weeks while workers clean up and monitor the dogs.

Jordan said anyone who adopted a dog from the shelter and has questions about the virus should call their veterinarian as the best source of information.

She said shelter employees are also calling owners of any dogs that were adopted over the past week.

The virus is passed through fecal matter, said Jordan, and she said in a shelter it is difficult to contain every bit of fecal material, which can stick to shoes or clothes.

The shelter is taking donations of bleach and paper towels, Jordan said, along with cash donations because the closure could be costly.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.