Potential infection outbreak at Memphis Animal Services

(WMC-TV) - An adoption event scheduled for Thursday at Memphis Animal Services will be limited to cats due to a potential outbreak of acute respiratory infection among the shelter's dog population.

"Communicable diseases are a problem in municipal shelters, and our does have a bad circulation problem when it comes to airflow," said animal activist Cindy Marx-Sanders.

Marx-Sanders said she is disturbed by news of illness.

"This is the second or third major outbreak in less than a year," she said.

Former shelter director Matthew Pepper spoke with Action News 5 about a distemper outbreak last March, during which dozens of dogs were euthanized.

"This area's been sanitized effectively for the last few days," Pepper said in March.

Marx-Sanders said she hopes a new shelter set to open soon will solve some of the issues, but insists education and training are keys in keeping illness at bay.

"If the staff is not up to snuff on how to house and clean cages and treatments of dogs, then it's not going to make much difference, and we're going to see reports on this over and over," said Marx-Sanders.

Shelter vets said some dogs might have been exposed to illness prior to adoption.

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