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February 07, 2008

Today's Update on the M-D Co. Shelter

No more dogs die at Dade shelter

BY ELINOR J. BRECHER
ebrecher@MiamiHerald.com

All the dogs at the Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department, where a contagious infection has killed a dozen dogs this week, made it through the night Wednesday.

   Dr. Sara Pizano, animal services director, reported no new deaths Thursday morning. The shelter remains in virtual lockdown, except for the lost-and-found. Owners may search for and reclaim their lost pets.

   Adoptions remain suspended, and rabies vaccines for the public will continue in the parking lot.

"These are the cases we suspect so far,'' Pizano said in an e-mail to rescue groups and the media: "12 either died or were euthanized in the shelter … all were [strays] between 8 months
and 6 years old. Two strays in rescue were euthanized and one died in rescue. One adopter had to euthanize.''

   issue cultures sent to labs "show heavy growth of the bacteria Streptococcus, although the specific type has not been identified yet. It is important to realize that there may be other pathogens involved...''

   The Medley shelter holds as many as 400 cats and dogs. So far, no puppies or cats have gotten sick.

   "Because we have a confirmed bacteria, every dog/puppy in the shelter received an antibiotic shot this morning,'' Pizano, a veterinarian, continued. "Still, many dogs or puppies taken from the shelter must be kept strictly isolated from other pets for at least three weeks, although ... a specific incubation period is unknown, but this is a highly contagious disease. Any animals leaving the shelter are receiving a 10-day course of antibiotics.''

   In addition to the Humane Society of Greater Miami/Adopt a Pet and the Humane Society of Broward County, rescue groups are accepting owner surrenders.

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