Weatherford Democrat

February 15, 2012

Parvo among allegations made about shelter at council meeting

Erin Cooper
CNHI

WEATHERFORD — Discussions concerning the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter continued Tuesday night at the Weatherford City Council meeting.

While several issues and pleas for change at the shelter were made again, at least two new stories came to light, both involving adoption of animals at the shelter.

One Parker Paws volunteer read a letter from a family who attempted to adopt a dog last August from the local shelter. Despite being assured by shelter staff that the dog they picked out was not at risk of being euthanized, the family arrived to sign the adoption papers only to be told that the dog had, in fact, been put to sleep, the letter stated.

A second story from an adoptive family was just as severe — this time involving two little girls ages 4 and 6.

Jeri Douglas, of Weatherford, told the city council that she went to adopt a puppy last Friday from the shelter. While there, Douglas said she asked about the health of the animals.

“I specifically asked about parvo and rabies and (the staff member) basically said they were all healthy and had had their first round of shots,” Douglas said.

After finding a litter of puppies, which had two girls and four boys, she went home for the night and returned Saturday morning with her two granddaughters.

“When I returned (the puppies) were already in the general population — this is only two days after they got there,” Douglas said. “We picked out a beautiful little girl dog. A friend of mine was there and she took the other girl. We named our little puppy Valentine Heart.”

But it didn’t take long for Douglas to realize there was something wrong with the brand new addition to her family.

“She seemed tired and listless,” she said. “I don’t know anything about puppies, but I thought she was just scared. Throughout the day she was real cuddly to us.”

That evening, however, Douglas said when she put the puppy in its bed she realized there was a serious issue.

“She never cried all night long,” Douglas said. “I called my friend Barb Benson and she said I needed to take her to the vet (immediately) instead of waiting until Monday.”

Since the veterinarian office at the local PetsMart was closed, Douglas was able to track down a veterinarian in Millsap to see the puppy immediately.

“She tested positive for parvo,” Douglas said.

The vet informed Douglas that treatment would be around $1,000 for the puppy, but that the case was so severe it probably wouldn’t help.

Douglas’ only option was to have the puppy put to sleep. She didn’t have the heart, however, to tell her granddaughters the truth.

“I wasn’t going to tell them she was put to sleep,” Douglas said.

Douglas said her oldest granddaughter was inconsolable and that her youngest one cried herself to sleep at night after hearing the news.

“I just want someone to correct the issues they are having out there,” Douglas said, adding that had a veterinarian been present at the shelter the puppies would probably have been treated properly instead of being slated for adoption.

Douglas said that the puppy her friend adopted also had to be put to sleep because it tested positive for parvo as well.

“I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this — it’s been devastating for all of us,” Douglas said. “Because of parvo we can’t have another animal in our house for eight to 10 months. That dream (of a puppy) will be put off for another year, which, when you’re 4 and 6, is a lifetime.”

Douglas stated that City Manager Jerry Blaisdell did reimburse her for her vet bills.

“My heart goes out to you,” Mayor Dennis Hooks said. No other comments were made by the council regarding the allegations that the puppy contracted parvo.

At the end of the meeting, Hooks said the purpose was to find a way for all the groups to work together and he thanked residents for their comments.