County animal shelter in Mesa to temporarily close over distemper fears
PHOENIX — An animal shelter in the East Valley will shut down this weekend until further notice amid a potential disease outbreak in the facility.
The Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter located near Rio Salado Parkway and the Loop 101 Pima Freeway in Mesa had nine dogs test positive for distemper in the last week and others display symptoms of illness, Kim Powell, a spokesperson for the shelter, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
The Mesa site is set to close down at 5 p.m. on Sunday so that every animal — approximately 300 dogs — can be tested.
Distemper is a contagious viral disease that affects the central nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems, with symptoms including a fever, lethargy, ocular and nasal discharge.
While the shelter works to get tests done through UC Davis, staff will also move to adopt out animals that aren’t displaying any signs of symptoms.
In an effort to find the pets a home, all adoption fees will be waived at both shelter locations.
Those interested in adopting from the shelter can blind adopt and will be counseled to understand the risks of taking an animal on medication without a confirmed diagnosis.
Shelter staff has been working with veterinarians to create a proactive response plan to limit the spread of the disease, which includes testing with multiple vendors.
While it is not confirmed if other animals showing symptoms of illness are positive for distemper, the shelter will move forward with its response plan.