Home Local News Hobbs animal shelter remains closed in fight against distemper

Hobbs animal shelter remains closed in fight against distemper

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Gabrielle Arsiaga/News-Sun

Several weeks after an outbreak of distemper hit the Hobbs Animal Adoption Center, the facility remains closed for dogs.

On March 12, the HAAC posted on social media there was an outbreak of distemper cases in the facility.

About a month after the first social media post was put up, and the free adoptions were offered, and a vaccination clinic was held on site, a second social media post was added.

“As a result of the outbreak, staff in conjunction with the City of Hobbs’ contract veterinarian Dr. Linda Westall, worked tirelessly to try to rid the facility of the disease. Unfortunately, despite staff’s valiant efforts, the rate of infections has not subsided and has increased dramatically,” the social media post stated.

Westall attributed the outbreak of distemper to two animals who were brought into the shelter – which caused the disease to spread like wild fire.

Missy Funk, the manager of the adoption center, could not provide exact numbers on how many animals were infected with the disease, but did state those dogs who were previously adopted out, tested positive, and returned, had to be euthanized.

“The origination is definitely out in the community and it’s become a facility problem, Funk said in a previous statement, “so this is why we’re pressuring citizens to ensure that their pets are vaccinated.”

And vaccinate is exactly what the public did.

The vaccination clinic held in March vaccinated approximately 717 animals, while Lovington Animal Shelter vaccinated approximately 404.

Additionally, 271 spays/neuters were done at HAAC during this time as well.

While the facility remains closed for dogs, the animal shelter felt it was best to continue to fight the outbreak of distemper outside of facility walls.

At the clinic held April 27, approximately 44 vaccinations were given out for distemper and parvo.

“The vaccine clinic was slow, but even with it being on a Wednesday…we felt as though the community was receptive and took advantage of the opportunity. We will be hosting another clinic on this upcoming Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Humble Park,” Funk said.

As of April 19, there are 76 dogs and 64 cats being housed at the HAAC, with the cats and kittens are the only animals able to be adopted at this time.

“The animals at HAAC continue to remain in quarantine status as we navigate through and ensure we prevented the spread of canine distemper throughout our facility. Viruses and illnesses in stray and unwanted pets are an ongoing dilemma. We want to continue to provide services to our citizens and encourage an environment in our community of responsible pet ownership,” Missy Funk, manager of HAAC said.

Animal Control Supervisor for the City of Lovington Laura Brock said her shelter has not been hit by the distemper virus.

Brock also said the intake numbers have decreased from 2021 to 2022.

From January to April 2021, 315 animals were brought into the Lovington shelter, and from January to April 2022, 244 animals were brought in. Out of the 315 animals brought in from January to April 2021, 227 were strays; 49 were released from the owner; 15 were adopted; 56 were euthanized; 160 were rescued; and 44 were returned to their owners. Between January and April 2022, 244 animals were brought into the shelter and out of those, 170 were strays; 61 were released by owners; 41 were adopted; 71 were euthanized; 95 were rescued; and 30 were returned to owner.

“It’s depressing when someone brings their animal here and they drop it off with us and the owner leaves and the animal is crying. People don’t realize the emotional toll that takes on shelter workers who have to watch and see that. We’re human beings too and people forget we feel for the animals,” Brock said of the animals surrendered to her facililty. “Shelters are not a dumping ground. They are for stray and lost animals. We should be a resource to help you.”

According to Brock, the reason for the high amount of euthanizations in Loving-ton was due to staff shortages.

“We only have two employees and the high amount of euthanizations was due to staff shortages. We were not able to keep dogs that we would’ve kept longer to give them a chance because we just don’t have the staff. We have a care ratio we have to maintain for the animal’s quality of life. The quality of life in our shelter is about four months before the animal’s health begins to deteriorate,” Brock said.

According to Brock, her facility is in need of a number of items including padded dog beds; square dog houses; treats; soft food for cats and dogs; toys for cats and dogs; scratching posts; comforters for dogs; fosters; volunteers; and drivers for transports.

Funk said her facility is in need of bleach; laundry detergent; and Dawn soap.

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