CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Kanawha-Charleston Animal Shelter reopened slowly Thursday after a two-week closure caused by distemper.
Four dogs were dropped off at the animal shelter by their owners, and two stray pit bulls were picked up on the shelter's first day in operation since the Dec. 19 closure.
"I thought we would be blasted with dogs coming in," said shelter director Donna Clark, "but we haven't been."
An outbreak of distemper was discovered among the shelter's 96 dogs on Dec. 19. Members of the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association initially thought all 96 animals might have to be euthanized to stop the spread of the disease, but voted in an emergency meeting to adopt out as many animals as possible.
In the hours following discovery of the disease, a team of veterinarians examined every dog at the shelter to decide which animals could be saved. An initial check showed about 40 dogs healthy enough for adoption. Fifty were placed under quarantine.
During a whirlwind "adopt-a-thon" on Dec. 20 and 21, the shelter adopted out 47 dogs before closing for cleaning and decontamination.
"We ended up putting 18 dogs to sleep," Clark said.
However, a few of the dogs that were adopted out also got sick with either distemper or parvovirus and had to be euthanized. Clark isn't sure how many, because the animals were taken to different area veterinarians and not all of the owners told shelter officials the animals had to be put to sleep.