UPDATE: Estill Animal Shelter not ready for intake, one more week needed

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The shelter has been overwhelmed with an outbreak of canine parvovirus

UPDATE 05/01/2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A few weeks ago, we reported on a parvovirus outbreak at the Estill County animal shelter. The shelter had to shut down for cleaning and hoped to re-open for intake May 1. Paws 4 the Cause says the shelter isn’t quite ready to re-open as there’s still a few dogs the shelter needs to vaccinate.

According to Paws 4 the Cause, parvo is a hard disease to get rid of, it can live on the ground for up to two years. Paws 4 the Cause says any dog that isn’t up-to-date on shots can contract it just by walking around.

Paws 4 the Cause says it’s helping Estill Animal Shelter relocate the dogs to other rescue centers so they can be adopted out. Paws 4 the Cause says Estill Animal Shelter should be back open again within the next week.

“They’ve been there now for weeks with this parvo outbreak and they’ve lived through the storm, none of them are sick,” says Anita Spreitzer, vice president of Paws 4 the Cause. “They got their booster so they’re doing well, so now it’s time for [the dogs] to move on.”

UPDATE 04/20/2022

LEXINGTON/RAVENNA, Ky. (WTVQ) – Anita Spreitzer, Vice President of the Lexington-based animal protection group Paws 4 the Cause, says in the past three weeks, about 20 puppies have contracted parvovirus at Estill Animal Shelter, and more than half those puppies have died.

She says two removed from the shelter on Sunday are in critical care. For now, the shelter is shut down until the beginning of May for sanitizing.

“This causes a big issue because there are over 30-40 dogs right now that need to come into the shelter that have no place to go, and most of them are puppies,” said Spreitzer.

However, Spreitzer says the shelter isn’t the only one fighting a parvo outbreak: she says about a dozen shelters in Kentucky are struggling with the same issue: she says Kentucky’s wet and rainy late winter and early spring this year have been the perfect breeding grounds for the virus.

“This has been a big storm with all the rain that we’ve had. A lot of the shelters are dealing with this right now with puppies coming in,” said Spreitzer.

She says what makes the situation worse is when people don’t spay or neuter their dogs, leading to a larger shelter intake, and when people don’t get their puppies properly vaccinated.

She says she’s been working with Estill County’s Judge-Executive to push for change.

“Hopefully with the vaccine, people will do the right thing and get them vaccinated so we can eradicate this outbreak for now,” said Judge-Executive Donnie Watson.

For the rest of the week, the shelter will be sanitized thoroughly, and Spreitzer says the animals at the shelter will be given vaccine boosters next week.

But, since no intake at the shelter is allowed, it doesn’t solve the problem of what to do with dogs needing immediate rescue.

“Right now, our main priority to is to help the dogs that are out there that need to get into rescues. Because if we don’t get them into rescues, they’ll start dumping them in then rural areas and these puppies won’t have a chance,” said Spreitzer.

You can donate cleaning supplies, animal food, or give money to Estill Animal Shelter through Paws 4 the Cause at paws4thecause.com.

If you’re an individual or rescue center interested in helping out or fostering an animal, call Paws 4 the Cause at (859) 962-8256.

If you’re needing to surrender your pet in Estill County, Estill Animal Shelter has directions for sending information and a photo of your animal on its Facebook page: facebook.com/EstillAnimalShelter.

Estill Animal Shelter plans to re-open for intake May 1.


IRVINE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Estill County Animal Shelter is asking for the public’s help in the wake of an outbreak of canine parvovirus in the shelter.

Parvo, for short, is a contagious virus mainly affecting dogs. CPV is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces. Vaccines can prevent this infection, but mortality can reach 91% in untreated cases. Treatment often involves veterinary hospitalization.

The shelter is asking for the public to adopt out dogs and puppies.

Because of the virus outbreak, the shelter has been forced to shut down its in-take until the beginning of May.

The Lexington-based nonprofit, ‘Paws 4 the Cause,’ is helping the shelter during this difficult time.

For more information or to adopt, call 859-962-8256.

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