BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Bakersfield Animal Care Center announced Tuesday it will temporarily stop taking in dogs due to a distemper outbreak effective immediately in order to reduce its current shelter population and get the outbreak under control.
Officials from CBACC said over the past two months since the outbreak started, they have had to euthanize 100 dogs so far.
“What we’re seeing is dogs get extremely ill to the point of no return and then we’re having to euthanize them,” said Nicole Gitzke with the CBACC. “That’s something we never want to do and it’s something we’re really trying to limit and that’s why we’re doing this.”
CBACC is currently beyond its capacity holding 221 dogs, according to a news release. Gitzke said not all the dogs are sick but many have to share kennels with some smaller dogs as cramped as six to a kennel.
“With the halt of intakes this is allowing us the chance to get dogs out of the shelter, to adopt them out get them out into fosters, into rescues. So then we can make space in our facility so we can start spacing out dogs better,” Gitzke said.
CBACC said the stoppage comes under guidance from Dr. Sandra Newbury, the Director of the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program, who it is currently working with on a distemper response plan.
Distemper is a highly contagious and incurable disease in domestic dogs and other animals. Symptoms include fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy, and can sometimes be fatal.
CBACC advises not to take in stray dogs and to keep your dog up to date on its vaccines. If your dog does seem to be sick or is showing symptoms you’re urged to call your vet immediately.