Judge grants restraining order blocking more euthanasia at dog shelter

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Five central Ohio rescue groups have been granted a temporary restraining order preventing the Franklin County Dog Shelter from euthanizing more dogs.

Judge Chris Brown granted the order Thursday after a lawsuit was filed by Peace for Paws Ohio, Julie Robert, Pittie Paw Rescue, I Have a Dream Rescue Organization and RescuedOhio.

READ MORE:Tap here to read the lawsuit

READ MORE:Tap here to read the restraining order application

Shelter director Don Winstel says an additional 20 dogs were put down last night because of the outbreak, bringing the total of euthanized dogs to 84.

According to the shelter a dog named Maya tested positive for the canine virus that evening. Medical staff at the shelter immediately began medical assessments on all dogs in the building to look for any signs of dogs showing similar symptoms. An official from the shelter said any dogs which had symptoms of severe respiratory infection were tested.

Since then, the shelter has received negative test results for distemper on four more tested dogs. Two tested positive on Wednesday morning, Sept. 14, bringing the total to three confirmed cases. As of Thursday, a total of 84 dogs have been euthanized because of distemper concerns. The shelter says six other dogs have been euthanized recently for unrelated reasons.

Shelter director Don Winstel says an additional 20 dogs were euthanized last night because of the outbreak, bringing the total of put down dogs to 84.

“I expect a similar number will be euthanized over each of the next couple of days,” he says.

“Now that we do have more than one dog with distemper and know that the dogs that are here in the shelter may have crossed paths in time and space with more than one infected dog, that does change our calculation about some of the risk categories that they’re in.”

Winstel says right now there are 183 dogs in the shelter with 135 in isolation. He says not all 84 dogs will be tested for the disease. Deputy county administrator Erik Janas says medical staff are making the decisions whether a test will be helpful or not.

“In some cases, those dogs might be terribly sick and the humane thing may be to euthanize them because of their illness signs, which may or not be related to this or that they can’t handle the shelter environment for behavioral reason,” says Janas.

The shelter is offering veterinary help to concerned pet owners who adopted a dog from the facility since August 8th. Janas says to call the shelter (614-525-3647) and they will help connect you with services.

“I’m most concerned about making sure those dogs that are showing those signs of disease that were adopted out during that period have an opportunity to get to a qualified vet,” says Janas.

He says after they get through the crisis, they will be doing a complete review of what happened with guidance from external help.

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