Franklin County Dog Shelter says 64 dogs have been euthanized for distemper concerns

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Franklin County Dog Shelter officials said 67 dogs were adopted after one tested positive for distemper on Sept. 3.

According to the shelter a dog named Maya tested positive for the canine virus that evening. Medical staff at the shelter immediately began medical assessments on all dogs in the building to look for any signs of dogs showing similar symptoms. An official from the shelter said any dogs which had symptoms of severe respiratory infection were tested.

Since then, the shelter has received negative test results for distemper on four more tested dogs. Two tested positive on Wednesday morning, Sept. 14, bringing the total to three confirmed cases. A total of 64 dogs have been euthanized because of distemper concerns. The shelter says six other dogs have been euthanized recently for unrelated reasons.

The question on many people’s minds was addressed today….Why did the shelter continue to adopt dogs out for a period of days knowing distemper was in the shelter?

Don Winstel, director of the shelter, said the shelter is doing everything possible to keep this situation under control.

“Other than saying in retrospect ‘we should’ve been on top of that and we were not,’ we are now going through the process of figuring out exactly how that happened and making sure that it doesn’t happen in the future,” he said. “I don’t have an answer and I apologize. This is all still fairly new to me.”

Winstel has only been in charge of the shelter since Sept. 6. He was the director of Franklin County Animal Care and Control from 2009-2011, according to the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

“Right now we don’t have the capacity to handle a lot of sick dogs,” he said. “We are already in a situation where we are monitoring a lot of dogs. And quite honestly, we don’t have capacity to work on lot of sick dogs.”

Since the shelter closed, no adoptions have occurred. Eleven dogs have been released to rescues willing and able to provide the necessary quarantine requirements.

A total of 67 dogs were adopted from the shelter between Sept. 4 and Sept. 9, officials said–Sept. 9 was when the shelter closed to the public. There were 32 dogs released to rescue groups.

“If you want the community back on your side, admit your mistake,” said shelter volunteer Danielle Anzic.

Anzic said that still hasn’t happened.

“From resentment to sadness, anger, frustration, I just feel all of those things,” she said.

She said the shelter messed up.

“I think the whole way it’s been handled has just been so disgraceful.”

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