Although every dog that comes into the animal shelter is vaccinated against distemper and other diseases, Clark said that if an animal comes in that is already sick, the vaccine doesn't do much good. A few dogs remain under quarantine at the shelter to see if they will get sick.
The four dogs dropped off by their owners Thursday, though, are available for adoption immediately, Clark said. The two pit bulls, which appear to be from the same litter, will be available for adoption on Jan. 16.
Clark said shelter staff members are ready for a new crop of animals to be brought in. "Right now we're just trying to clean," she said, "and we're vaccinating anything that comes in."
Because of the incubation period of distemper, it isn't always possible to spot the disease right away. "It's like kids having the flu at day care," Clark said. She said a parent might drop a healthy child at the day-care center, but if one of the other kids is sick, the child might come home with the flu.
Clark urged pet owners to keep their shots current on their pets, and to vaccinate them if they haven't already done so.
"Before you come out here and adopt, be sure your pets at home are safe," she said. "Call your vet if you're not sure."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.