The City of Houston's Animal Shelter won't be taking in any more strays or formerly beloved but now unwanted pets starting today and continuing through April 16 while it works to treat a higher than normal number of animals who are sick with upper respiratory problems. It will also be suspending operation of its wellness clinic and its spay and neuter clinic during these seven days.
In the meantime, BARC is asking Houstonians to foster or adopt healthy animals. Rescued Pets Movement, Houston Pets Alive! and Austin Pets Alive! have joined in the effort. Healthy pets will still be available for adoption, so for more information visit houstontx.gov/barc or go to BARC at 3300 Carr.
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Dogs who have tested positive for distemper have been quarantined and won't be released for adoption until they are well. Besides treating the affected animals, BARC staffers will also be doing a deep clean of the shelter "to reduce further contamination," according to a city press release.
Signs of distemper "may include thick nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing and, in severe cases, the neurological system, causing seizures, tremors and death," the city says. Residents who have adopted dogs from BARC in the last 30 days will receive free medical treatment from the shelter for these pets if they show these symptoms.
BARC will also take back any animals and refund adoption fees if any adopters who don't want to or can't care for sick animals.
“Out of concern for the hundreds of healthy animals who come to BARC each week, as well as BARC’s spay and neuter and wellness clinic customers, BARC has decided to take immediate, preemptive measures to isolate the issue,” said Greg Damianoff, assistant director for BARC. “Temporarily closing the shelter will allow BARC to focus our resources on treating sick animals, but getting the many healthy and adoptable animals out of BARC and into foster, rescue or adopted homes is also essential.”