BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The distemper outbreak in Kern County has caused multiple shelters and canine rescue groups to euthanize infected dogs. As the struggle to save shelter dogs continues, pet lovers across Kern are stepping up to help.

The deadly viral canine disease known as distemper continues to plague Kern County. The Bakersfield Animal Care Center said it hasn’t gotten any worse but it’s still too soon to celebrate.

Animals at the Bakersfield Animal Care Center are being tested for distemper to separate and isolate the infected ones.

“We tested 50 dogs for distemper and 15 of those tests came back positive. It’s a good, bad news kind of thing. The thing is now we know who is sick with distemper and who is not,” Nicole Gitzke with the Bakersfield Animal Care Center said.

The center needs to get dogs adopted to make more space. To encourage people the center paused adoption fees for dogs for the rest of the month. Since we last spoke to the center 20 big dogs have been adopted while another five have been fostered out.

“The good news is we are getting a lot of dogs out of the shelter into foster homes, into rescues, people are coming out to adopt,” Gitzke said. “That’s really helping us making space for animals in the shelter and that’s what we critically need at this time.”

But the issue with distemper still remains. The answer is to get your dog vaccinated.

“Well the last six months we’ve seen a huge increase of dogs with distemper and are not only in the shelters but also in the community,” Dawn Romero with Unity K9 Express Rescue said. “Our shelters have been struggling to kind of get a grip on the distemper outbreaks not only in the shelter but in the community and vaccinations are the only thing that can stop this.”

Unity K9 will be hosting a free drive through and walk up Parvo and Distemper vaccination event this Saturday.

Bakersfield, Arvin and Lamont residents can take their dogs on Saturday, Jan. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to the F&M Fabrics parking lot, located at 2954 Niles St. The clinic will be a drive-thru and walk-up event.

Residents who live in these zip codes can take their dogs to get vaccinated: 93301, 93304, 93305, 93306, 93307, 93308, Arvin and Lamont, according to Unity K9 Express.