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Eight dogs still up for adoption after distemper outbreak

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Employees at the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association were still hoping for homes for eight dogs that remained up for adoption Wednesday, a week after a distemper outbreak put the facility into fast-forward.   

Director Donna Clark said the available dogs ranged in age from 1 to 11 years old. The oldest is Rusty, a Labrador/pit bull mix.

"He's definitely too old to be in the shelter," Clark said. "He's been here since Oct. 22."

Sponsors have fully paid Rusty's adoption fees.

"A lot of people stepped forward to do that," Clark said. "But we do worry about that. We're afraid people will think 'free dog' and not have the money to take care of it."

The adopters must adhere to the shelter's spay-neuter policy within two weeks. Staff will aggressively check up to make sure that's done, Clark said.

Prospective adopters are asked to check out the dogs on the shelter's website or on its Facebook page to make a choice. The public isn't permitted to go back inside the kennels due to efforts to combat the distemper.

The available dogs have been checked by a vet and are determined to be disease-free, but those adopting will still be asked to sign a waiver. Clark said potential adopters might also want to check with their veterinarians to make sure other animals in their homes have been vaccinated before bringing home a shelter dog.

Adopting out the remaining dogs is essential to getting the shelter facilities disinfected. Two dogs were adopted Wednesday. The shelter will continue to allow adoptions until the available dogs are gone.

"The sooner the better," Clark said. "We can't totally clean everything until they are all gone. If we can't find them homes, we'll just have to keep moving them around and do the best we can.

"We are cleaning today, but really until we get all the animals out we can't clean completely," she said.

The shelter will be open for adoptions 1 to 4 p.m. today. The remaining dogs are all fully sponsored and have been vaccinated, Clark said.

The list includes Andy, a sweet-tempered black Labrador; a friendly 45-pound female hound boxer mix; Baby Girl, a very active 2-year-old shepherd hound mix; a people-loving 3-year-old male Rottweiler shepherd mix; a 3-year-old male American Bulldog that needs a single pet home; a super loving 2-year-old male hound mix; and Zelda, a 4-year-old housebroken 45-pound chow shepherd hound mix that has already been spayed.

"Just because they're fully paid for doesn't mean there are no expenses," Clark said. "People need to remember there are vet bills they need to think about. There are other bills and expenses that come with owning a pet.

"Owning a pet is a pleasure, not necessity."

There are 13 dogs being held in quarantine.

"Those we are treating or just watching," Clark said.

There are currently no cats or other animals available for adoption.

Adopting dogs, paying the fee for someone else, or temporarily fostering a dog until its new home can be found isn't the only way the public can help, she said.

"We still need any cleaning supplies, paper towels and bleach," Clark said. "We need new litter boxes for cats.

"People have been really good," she said. "We have plenty of food and treats right now. We could use towels and blankets. Because anything we use for bedding we are not reusing, we are throwing them away."

The shelter also is seeking the public's support Saturday at a blowout sale at the shelter's thrift shop. Clark said everything - from knick-knacks to books - had to go because the shelter planned to use the little building to house strays and sick animals before moving them into the main shelter area.

The sale will run 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the thrift shop.

Clark said many people have posted Facebook comments indicating they wanted to help.

"We made it through the holiday. A lot of people said they would do whatever they could to help," she said. "So now we hope they'll do what they said."

Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at or 304-348-4832. 


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