Tag Archives: distemper

Distemper strikes Ashe County pound again; Shame on you, Joe Testerman

Distemper has once again hit the Ashe County Pound, where dogs are vaccinated “if we have the vaccine,” according to director Joe Testerman. In other words, no, he doesn’t bother to practice proper disease-preventing protocols in his shelter, and then goes on to cry crocodile tears about how “heartbreaking” it is.

“Even animals in close proximity may be healthy, but animals that are exposed, it’s in our best interest to put those animals down to prevent further spread of that virus.” So, just to be clear: Joe Testerman prefers to spend money on Fatal-Plus to KILL the animals in his shelter than to spend some of that money on vaccines that are “possibly the single most powerful weapon we possess for stopping significant disease outbreaks in their tracks.” (Oh, never mind, the Ashe County pound uses the barbaric gas chamber to kill, doesn’t it?)

But hey, wait a minute: Testerman says vaccinations remain the best, and only, way of protecting your dog from contracting distemper.

“We highly recommend that everyone check your animal’s vaccination history and make sure you are providing the much needed vaccinations,” said Testerman. “It may save your pet’s life.”

And yet, Mr. Testerman,  you refuse to vaccinate the animals that come into your pound. If you were to practice what you preach and vaccinate all animals at or before intake into your facility, you could save HUNDREDS of lives. Vaccination is not a guarantee that no shelter animal will get a disease such as distemper, but it is the most important step in preventing a widespread outbreak that will cost many lives. “In some cases, the chance of the vaccine preventing disease may be 90% or better if given the day before exposure, but will drop to less than 1% if given the day after exposure.

Shame on you, Joe Testerman. How dare you push the blame onto others for a disease outbreak YOU can prevent in YOUR facility.

This is the second distemper outbreak in the Ashe County pound this year. After the previous one, Joe Testerman said: “There’s no way to predict these things with any certainty, but we are anticipating more distemper cases in the county this year.” And yet he still failed to do the most important thing he could do to prevent it.

The Ashe County pound killed  69.44 percent of dogs and 96.59 percent of cats that came in during 2011, for a total kill rate of 84.38 percent.

Ashe County Animal Shelter Outcome Statistics 2011


Filed under "Nobody WANTS to kill animals ...", Ashe County, Distemper, NC county/municipal pounds

More distemper; Wayne County tries to get it right

The bad news is that the Wayne County pound has closed for three weeks after taking in some puppies who had distemper. But the good news is that they appear to be trying to handle it responsibly, instead of following the bad examples set by Duplin and Robeson counties.

It’s almost inevitable that sooner or later an animal with distemper will find its way into a pound, particularly in rural counties. That’s why Wayne county vaccinates upon arrival. Every animal impound facility should.

Furthermore, instead of waiting for the disease to spread (while keeping silent and sending out sick animals who infect others), the Wayne County managers actually decided to be proactive and close the facility before the deadly disease spread. And unlike other counties who decide it’s easier just to kill all the resident animals and start all over, Wayne County is hoping to keep its animals alive. From the Friends of Wayne County Animals Facebook page:

Friends, the shelter has confirmed cases of distemper. In order to contain and control distemper, the shelter will be CLOSED for 3 weeks to the general public. During that time, the shelter will be disinfected daily and the animals will be monitored for signs/symptoms of distemper. The shelter’s GOAL is to SAVE having to euthanize healthy animals. Our shelter vaccinates every animal (within age), so their hope is that no others will get sick.

Unfortunately, they will continue to take in strays, but they are a county pound and have a mandate. I would find it really distressing if one of my dogs got loose and ended up in a distemper quarantined pound. But if the shelter manager and staff really are being as diligent as they say, the strays might have a chance.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say what chance a stray would have at that shelter absent a distemper quarantine, because Wayne County failed to report their 2010 numbers to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. And the NCDA&CS is not finished compiling the 2011 stats yet. I have emailed the officials in charge of the Wayne County pound and requested these documents, but there’s no telling if they will send them.

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Filed under Distemper, NC county/municipal pounds, Wayne County