KY Pound Kills 21 Dogs During Parvo Outbreak

Parvo is preventable and treatable and every animal shelter has an obligation to both prevent and treat this disease. Parvo in shelters is prevented through the practice of vaccination prior to or immediately upon intake, good housing practices and standard disease prevention cleaning protocols. The disease is further prevented by ensuring the community’s dog owners have easy access to low cost vaccinations for their pets.

Treatment options for parvo dogs include in-house care if sufficient resources exist to provide isolation and appropriate veterinary care. If the facility is not equipped to provide treatment, parvo dogs may be transferred to another shelter with appropriate facilities or to a private veterinary clinic. Donations may be solicited from the public if necessary. The media can help in educating the public and spreading the word about the shelter’s efforts to save lives. The days of blanket killing of shelter dogs for parvo or exposure to the disease are over – or at least they should be.

The Kenton Co pound in KY apparently didn’t get the memo. Director Elizabeth Cochran killed 21 dogs in response to at least 3 dogs testing positive for parvo in late July. She appeared to admit to the local news that routine disease prevention protocols are not followed in her facility:

Because the virus is so contagious, and the dogs were next to each other in kennels, Cochran said the fast-spreading virus passed from dog to dog before symptoms were even present.
“Staff could go in and clean, essentially touch them and then move onto other dogs and not know they had the virus on them and so it spreads rapidly,” Cochran said.

Failing to wash hands or switch gloves between each animal to prevent the spread of disease is unacceptable in any shelter. Killing dogs who have tested positive for parvo without providing treatment is also unacceptable. As is killing dogs who have not been tested or treated, who have been “diagnosed” by someone other than a veterinarian, who are asymptomatic but have been exposed or who are merely “suspected” of having the disease.

When asked at a public meeting earlier this month how many dogs were killed, Cochran said the number was “irrelevant”. She closed the facility for 2 weeks for cleaning, which is another protocol not supported by science:

There is no benefit to a waiting period prior to re-use of a kennel after CPV decontamination; either mechanical cleaning and disinfection was effective, or it was not. Waiting a day or even a couple of weeks will not result in a significant further decrease in contamination. To be on the safe side, kennels should be completely cleaned, disinfected, and dried at least twice before re-use, however this can happen in a short period of time (e.g. 24 hours) if the area or kennel is needed urgently.

Regarding vaccination, Cochran is quoted in every article telling the public they need to vaccinate their dogs – a preventive measure which she apparently fails to employ in her own facility. UC Davis says:

Vaccination is the cornerstone of parvovirus prevention in shelters and communities. In the absence of maternal antibody interference, a single modified live vaccine can confer protection within 3-5 days. Research to date has found that currently available vaccines protect against all known strains of parvovirus, including parvovirus 2c. All dogs and puppies > 4 weeks of age should be vaccinated at the time of shelter admission (or ideally, at least a week before), including those who are injured or mildly ill.

Cochran, who appears to be surrounded by enablers, says she did everything she could during the outbreak:

“I personally called 25 local veterinarians to see what could be done,” Cochran said.

Gee, it’s hard to imagine that 25 vets didn’t all tell her to vaccinate all dogs prior to or immediately upon intake, to wash hands or switch gloves between animals and that there is zero benefit to closing the facility for 2 weeks for cleaning. But I wasn’t there so I don’t know. Maybe 25 vets blamed the unwashed masses for failing to vaccinate and absolved her of all responsibility.

The Kenton Co pound needs to bring its parvo protocols in line with current veterinary standards. Prevention and treatment are not luxuries. They are the minimum that every shelter pet is entitled to and the least we should expect from our municipal facilities. Every shelter pet is relevant and the needless killing of even one is unacceptable.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Previous Post
Leave a comment

15 Comments

  1. Um. How does she know that the dogs she killed hadn’t been vaccinated previously?

    This whole “slash and burn” mentality is inevitable in a shelter where lives matter not at all.

    And yes, I would like the names and numbers of the TWENTY FIVE local vets she called. I find it extremely unlikely that she went vet to vet to vet trying to find a way to save lives (if that’s what she was calling about, doesn’t actually sound like it) and they all told her to kill ALL THE DOGS.

    Sounds like rationalization and excuses abound.

    Reply
  2. Also doesn’t help that she has an “independent” veterinarian praising her up and down the street for the very fine job she did of slaughtering the dogs. Although he admits he’s not a shelter expert nor a parvo expert. Sounds like a winner of a vet.

    Reply
    • The enablers are everywhere. When a citizen complained at a public meeting about her dodging the number of dogs she killed as “irrelevant”, the county admin said it was bc she was so distraught over killing so many. Then a foster who previously took in a dog with parvo said it’s basically a hopeless disease. I think (hope, actually) they just don’t hear themselves anymore.

      Reply
  3. Robert Berke

     /  August 31, 2015

    Time to pack your bags and go to hell! You are FIRED for gross ignorance and animal abuse! Animal abusers need to be killed!

    Reply
  4. Adrianne Mock

     /  August 31, 2015

    parvo is treatable, but costly to treat… so most facilities won’t. Unfortunately it ALSO stays in the environment for a LONG time unless the facility is cleaned thoroughly (bleach will kill it).

    If they’d STOP illegally importing overseas street dogs from countries where there is NO oversight on disease or vector control, NO oversight on breeding, nutrition or … well.. much of anything… they could avoid problems like this…

    the re$cue puppy importers (Retail Re$cue) are bringing in new strains of parvo, distemper and parasites like screw worm. And, active rabies… from countries where it is endemic. With NO QUARANTINE… just bring ’em in, ship ’em out. Sell ’em at fundraising events for the $helter Pet $tore. NO recourse for the pet buyer who now has a very sick (or dead) pet. Or has infected their other pets, or other people’s pets…

    Sad that the irresponsible behavior of Retail Re$cue and the $helter Pet $tore in the quest for Mo’ Money is resulting in the deaths of dogs…

    hope they dont’ bring in MORE dogs before they sterilize the place.

    Reply
  5. Matt Elrod

     /  September 2, 2015

    I am the citizen that confronted the director and the Fiscal Court concerning this outbreak. The vet that was their “expert witness” is a political appointee and a large Republican donor (our entire Fiscal court are Republicans). it is widely believed that many more dogs died than has been reported, they are simply not attributing their deaths to the disease outbreak. They admitted in the court meeting that only 15-17 dogs tested positive yet they killed 21 (more according to my sources inside the shelter). The director has been on the job for about 6 months as director and during that time they have quit vaccinating animals, quit microchipping animals (same expert witness told them it was surgical procedure), and are now sending animals out without having been spayed or neutered to their new homes. The previous director who was let go when the new court took office vaccinated all animals on intake, spayed/neutered all animals, microchipped, and during his tenure never had an outbreak of parvo during his 25 year affiliation with the shelter. There is supposed to be a report released on Sept. 8th to the Fiscal Court but they are going to use the same vet that is their “expert” and a a few of their political allies to make sure they look heroic instead of barbaric. They have no interest in doing better, they simply want this to go away. We have tried to get answers but they instead rally around the director who is their toadie and act like she has saved the world. The judge-executive actually ran on a “no kill” platform and during his 8 month tenure more animals have died at the shelter than ever before. They even killed dogs that belonged to people and were just lost. We all must demand answers because right now it is only a few and they are keeping us at arm’s distance.

    Reply
  6. Matt Elrod

     /  September 2, 2015

    we have but because the report currently is a “preliminary draft” they do not have to release it. when the full report is available I will be requesting it but whether it tells the truth or not?

    Reply
    • You don’t need the report – get all the records of the animals. Euthanasia records. Dispositions. Everything you can lay your hands on. The numbers alone will be damning.

      Reply
  7. Barb Hamon

     /  September 2, 2015

    I was also a previous employee at this shelter and as Matt, I left when I kept approaching the now shelter director about the filthy consitions that was becoming the norm at the shelter. People she hired were not (and still are not) adhering to the procedures put in place by the previous director. Therefore this place has become a filthy disease infected petri dish. A couple of years ago the vet I used came into the shelter as requested by the then shelter director, to look over the procudures in place. The only thing she noted was there were too many people permitted through the intake (treatment) room. The director stopped this practice upon her reccomendation. Now, this new direcdtor has everyone who wants to go in there can. She even has volunteers “behavior” test the dogs. I have a BS in Behavior Science, worked in shelters, with ranchers, farmers, certified therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs and K-9’s. While working at this shelter the new director told me she didn’t think I was “knowledgeable” enough to do behavior test. She was put into this job because she is a puppet for politicians. The fiscal court has also had a shelter director from a neighboring county mentor her. The other shelter director is as questionable as this one. The saddest part of all of this is that I have requested a citizens committee to oversee and look into the problem. I want to have them call in their own experts, but the judge executive and his minions have turned this down. They said this will be kept “in house” and they will call their own experts. They will not be held accountable for any of this and it will happen again. Especially now since she has stopped vaccinating animals upon intake. I guess this is from their expert vet who doesn’t want them to “practice veterinary medicine”. This is what he has been crusading about for the past 10 years at this shelter. Now, with the new director and judge executive he will be allowed to doom countless animals to their death. It is too bad this will be swept under the rug and all those dogs lives will have been in vain, with many more to follow. There are not enough people in our area who care enough to come out and protest this and demand it be cleaned up. They all just write comments, but when we (Matt and I) called for them to come to the fiscal court meetings, no one showed up. I wish there could be a large national organization who would bring this to light and raise their voice, loudly. Perhaps if the issue with this shelter could reach beyond the county’s boundaries someone would listen. Someone needs to be held accountable and no one will be. It is sad that the animals are the ones who will suffer in the end because of politicians who rank them as the lowest common denominator and a vet who is more interested in his bottom line than animals lives and well being.

    Reply
    • Robert Berke

       /  September 2, 2015

      The place needs to be publicly exposed by you and others so it can be closed or all the abusers fired! You KNOW. What id like to see done to them!

      Reply
  8. Barb Hamon

     /  September 2, 2015

    I was also a previous employee at this shelter and as Matt, I left when I kept approaching the now shelter director about the filthy conditions that was becoming the norm at the shelter. People she hired were not (and still are not) adhering to the procedures put in place by the previous director. Therefore this place has become a filthy disease infected petri dish. A couple of years ago the vet I used came into the shelter as requested by the then shelter director, to look over the procudures in place. The only thing she noted was there were too many people permitted through the intake (treatment) room. The director stopped this practice upon her reccomendation. Now, this new direcdtor has everyone who wants to go in there can. She even has volunteers “behavior” test the dogs. I have a BS in Behavior Science, worked in shelters, with ranchers, farmers, certified therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs and K-9’s. While working at this shelter the new director told me she didn’t think I was “knowledgeable” enough to do behavior test. She was put into this job because she is a puppet for politicians. The fiscal court has also had a shelter director from a neighboring county mentor her. The other shelter director is as questionable as this one. The saddest part of all of this is that I have requested a citizens committee to oversee and look into the problem. I want to have them call in their own experts, but the judge executive and his minions have turned this down. They said this will be kept “in house” and they will call their own experts. They will not be held accountable for any of this and it will happen again. Especially now since she has stopped vaccinating animals upon intake. I guess this is from their expert vet who doesn’t want them to “practice veterinary medicine”. This is what he has been crusading about for the past 10 years at this shelter. Now, with the new director and judge executive he will be allowed to doom countless animals to their death. It is too bad this will be swept under the rug and all those dogs lives will have been in vain, with many more to follow. There are not enough people in our area who care enough to come out and protest this and demand it be cleaned up. They all just write comments, but when we (Matt and I) called for them to come to the fiscal court meetings, no one showed up. I wish there could be a large national organization who would bring this to light and raise their voice, loudly. Perhaps if the issue with this shelter could reach beyond the county’s boundaries someone would listen. Someone needs to be held accountable and no one will be. It is sad that the animals are the ones who will suffer in the end because of politicians who rank them as the lowest common denominator and a vet who is more interested in his bottom line than animals lives and well being.

    Reply
    • Do you have an animal friendly and courageous investigative reporter who might do a piece on this? Whether the local minions like it or not, they are being exposed to many people for the atrocity they perpetuate. Bless those of you who are trying, have tried and will continue to for the animals.

      Reply
      • Barb Hamon

         /  September 3, 2015

        Apparently not. I have reached out to a couple of local news agencys but with no response. One did a piece on it but it was all staged. It showed a picture of the director with a mop in her hand cleaning the shelter. I know for a fact that since she took this job she hasn’t picked up a mop or anything else to clean with. She even calls employees in to work on their off days if she is short staffed so she doesn’t have to “clean”. She apparently is too good for that low level task.

  9. d2perry

     /  September 3, 2015

    The entire Shelter community appears to be made up of enablers and people who apparently don’t care about animals or their welfare. Any staff member that cares, and seek necessary improvements and reform, are systematically given the boot. Sad!

    Reply

Speak!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: