Inspectors from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) discovered that dogs at the Lied County Animal Shelter were infected with distemper and Parvovirus, and that cats were infected with panleukopenia. A spokesperson for the Heaven Can Wait Sanctuary, a group that has previously worked with the shelter in rehoming pets, claims that the shelter was not vaccinating its animals properly. And Lied officials have said they did not realize animals were infected until the Humane Society team noticed animals with intestinal and respiratory problems.
The cull included non-infected animals that had simply contributed to the overcrowding that had aided the spread of the diseases. The mass culling began on February 9th, and is believed to be the largest in the city’s history. It has prompted shelter officials to change their methods of caring for animals.
The shelter has hired a new director to oversee operations; it has also shortened the amount of time it will keep pets. The shelter will vaccinate animals when they arrive and will keep those considered adoptable alive up to 120 days. Animals deemed unfit for adoption, such as those that are old or sick, will be euthanized after 72 hours. And the shelter’s spokesperson told Clark County commissioners that the shelter will start to vaccinate all animals, even those expected to be put down.
The shelter annually adopts more than 7,000 dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs and other animals and has now reopened. People can drop off unwanted animals, but the shelter is not yet allowing animals to be adopted.