After exposure to the canine distemper virus and a nearly five-week quarantine of the exposed dogs, Animal Resources & Care (formerly Animal Services) resumes adoption of shelter dogs this week. Extensive testing has been performed to ensure dogs that may have had exposure are “clear of distemper and other forms of URI,” according to Shelter Veterinarian Elizabeth Fitzpatrick.
Starting tomorrow (February 8, 2022), and in an effort to find new homes for all these deserving dogs, the shelter is launching its “Meet Your Match” event with $14 adoption fees for February. Staff have categorized the shelter dogs according to their behavioral traits. After adopters answer some basic questions about themselves and their lifestyle, they can match you with the perfect companion. The shelter (3400 N.E. 53rd Avenue, Gainesville) is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., excluding holidays.
“This program, adopted from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), has been shown to increase the likelihood that new adoptions are a good match for their new families,” said Alachua County Animal Resources & Care Director Ed Williams. “Staff have done a wonderful job adhering to the biosecurity protocols that were implemented to contain this infection and maximize the number of lives saved, and we appreciate their continued dedication to both Alachua County and to the animals in our care.”
As a precaution, shelter staff also reached out to those that adopted, transferred, or reclaimed dogs from Animal Resources & Care during December to both ascertain whether their adoptees were symptomatic and to offer drive-by testing in the shelter parking lot. No additional cases of infection were found in those dogs.
Animal Resources & Care would like to remind citizens that the canine distemper virus is carried by local wildlife, including raccoons, foxes, skunks, and coyotes. Coupling that with a large population of unvaccinated dogs exposed to wildlife, or areas frequented by wildlife, causes strays and dogs (allowed to run at large) to contract the virus and bring it with them to the shelter and/or spread it to other dogs. That is why it is so important for dog owners to consult with their veterinarian to ensure their dogs are properly vaccinated.
Pet adopters must be 18 years or older and show identification with proof of current address. If there are already pets in the home, potential adopters must show proof that owned animals are current on rabies and county licenses. All adoptable cats and dogs are vaccinated, microchipped, and sterilized before going home.