ETX animal shelter says they aren't to blame for distemper - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX animal shelter says they aren't to blame for distemper outbreak

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas animal shelter says they are not to blame for a distemper outbreak that they say forced them put down more than a hundred dogs.  

News of the outbreak at the Humane Society of Northeast Texas in Longview has triggered an angry public backlash from across the nation. The shelter says the distemper outbreak is not their fault.

Christine Kerr with the Humane Society of Northeast Texas says the distemper outbreak has been horrific. She wants everyone to know the disease outbreak did not stem directly from their shelter. 

"What I want the public to understand is that we did not have distemper in the shelter," said Kerr. "We were brought animals or one animal that had distemper when they came into the shelter."

She says the shelter spends close to $5,000 a month on vaccinations, which includes distemper. 
"However, if they already have distemper or they have another disease, there is nothing we can do," said Kerr. "It is too late. The vaccinations that we give will not prevent what the animals are already carrying. It's too late. It was the owners responsibility, and it's really easy now to put the blame on the shelter, that way the public doesn't have to deal with what they didn't do."

Signs of distemper aren't always evident, she says. Segregation would be the only way to prevent it from spreading.

"We get an average of 50 to 60 animals per day," said Kerr. "We cannot segregate them and we would have to segregate them for two weeks, up to a month. I would have a segregation building with to a thousand animals in there. We don't have that in Longview."

As Kerr and the shelter try to move forward, she wants the public to know this has been a difficult experience.  

"We're following the operating procedures. No one here wanted to put down 154 animals," said Kerr.

The disease only effects dogs, so none of the cats at the shelter are at risk.


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