Rare distemper case kills dog at LMAS

Dr. Ed Wimpy
Dr. Ed Wimpy

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A dog at Louisville's troubled Metro Animal Services is dead after a confirmed case of distemper and services were suspended Thursday for a massive cleaning effort.

The four-year-old Jack Russell was brought to LMAS after biting someone. After the dog arrived, the interim director said there was a breakdown in policy. She says the dog wasn't vaccinated.

"The policy is to vaccinate on intake. Sometimes when you have aggressive animals that's very difficult so it might not happen immediately. This is one that got through the cracks," Interim Director Susan Neumayer said.

"There will be people held responsible and there will be accountability from the staff," Neumayer added.

The dog was put into isolation and LMAS officials don't think any other dogs were exposed to the deadly virus.

Distemper is spread like the flu and can become airborne when an animal coughs. The virus is not dangerous to people.

Dr. Ed Wimpy, the shelter veterinarian, said all 240 dogs are being watched closely. Wimpy told us he has not seen a case of distemper is at least 30 years.

"They are not pretty situations," Wimpy said, "dogs that are very sick and often you can't get them to turn around by treatment. Since the late 70s, I've never seen an actual case of distemper."

Volunteers and staff say they cleaned Metro Animal Services facility from top to bottom. Services were set to resume on Friday.

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