When a dog is infected with hookworms, the adult worms produce eggs in the intestine which are expelled with the dog’s feces. Once on the ground, the eggs hatch and develop into larvae. The larvae can survive in the soil, provided temperatures are above freezing, for only a few months while waiting for a new host. They can enter a new host by burrowing into the feet or skin that touches the ground or by being ingested when a dog eats soil containing the larvae.
Hookworms are very common in pups (mama dogs can transmit them to the puppies before birth) and in stray pets. Luckily they are easily treatable with non-prescription dewormers. Many of the packaged heartworm medications also contain the medicine to kill hooks.
Shelters should expect that many of their pets will have hookworms. Bleach is effective in preventing eggs in the environment from developing into larvae. With routine deworming upon impound and standard cleaning practices, having dogs infected with hooks does not present a serious problem for shelters.
When an Horry Co man had to go out of town on business for 10 days, he arranged for someone to look after his pair of 4 month old puppies. During this time, the pups escaped from home and animal control picked them up. The person looking after the pups and the owner both called AC many times trying to find out where the pups had been taken. In fact, the pups had been taken to the Horry County Animal Care Center where they were killed after 5 days because, although no one is claiming the puppies were sick, both had blood in their stool and one of them tested positive for hookworms.
Horry County Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier gave misleading information about blood in the stool/hookworm infestation to the local NBC affiliate covering the story:
“The type of health issues that these two puppies were displaying that actually infect the general population so these two puppies were actually euthanized,” Bourcier said.
And she deflected blame from the shelter that actually did the killing to the owner who didn’t have ID tags on his his 4 month old puppies or have them microchipped:
Bourcier said if proper identification had been present, it would have been easier to find the proper owner.
Bourcier said this is a good time to raise awareness on how important it is to get pets spayed or neutered.
Right. Had these 4 month old puppies been neutered, the monsters at the pound wouldn’t be so effing ignorant about common intestinal parasites in pets.
Owner Frank Jones was so devastated after learning his puppies were killed, he went to the hospital, feeling as if he was having a heart attack. But he’s not giving up. He has vowed to continue attending county council meetings until somebody takes action. And he’s got a reasonable suggestion that would help owners find their lost pets who have been taken to the pound:
Jones wishes there was some sort of social media displaying when a person’s animal is picked up by Horry County.
“Why can’t we have an amber alert? My poor dog Peanut, I wanna see a Peanut alert. I wanna see every time they pick up a dog, I don’t see why they can’t put it on a web site and show the picture of it,” Jones said.
I don’t see why either. Because nobody wants to kill animals, right? Making a little effort to help get pets back home should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, no-brainers seem to hold leadership positions in Horry Co.
Bourcier said there are several efforts to alert the community when a possible pet is picked up by Animal Control.
The Horry Co Animal Care Center does have a Facebook page, but it doesn’t appear to be very active so I don’t think she’s referring to that. The shelter’s website has some animals on it but the listings appear to be outdated so that must not be one of the “efforts to alert the community” either. I can’t tell if the pets they have on Petfinder are current but their page says:
We accept all types of animals and never refuse to accept an animal that needs a safe place to go to in Horry County.
Gee, that’s great. They accept any animal who needs a safe place to go in Horry Co. But where is this safe place located and why weren’t Mr. Jones’ 2 puppies taken there?