Distemper outbreak halts owner surrenders and in-person dog adoptions at AAMW


The City of Amarillo Animal Management &Welfare Department (AAMW) is temporarily changing its intake policy for dogs due to a community-wide distemper outbreak. Effective today (July 26), AAMW will not be able to accept dogs surrendered by their owners or conduct in-person dog adoptions. These temporary changes in AAMW policy do not apply to cats. Canine distemper cannot be transmitted to cats or humans.

“Canine distemper is highly contagious. Here at the shelter we have had one confirmed case of distemper in a dog that was picked up as a stray. We must closely manage the intake of all dogs into the shelter to ensure that all steps are taken to prevent the continued spread of canine distemper in the shelter,” said AAMW Director Victoria Medley. “Canine distemper is becoming a significant heath issue in our community and around the state. The best way to stop the spread of canine distemper is for owners to have their dogs vaccinated. AAMW performs canine distemper vaccinations, and we highly encourage owners to protect their pets.”

“This is not just a shelter problem. This is a community problem and the shelter is doing what it can to help the community and contain the disease,” said Clayton J. Cobb, Assistant Professor of General Veterinary Practice at the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine.

“Municipal shelters serve their communities by removing animals that spread disease. Do not let your pet roam. Vaccinate your pets, especially your dogs right now for canine distemper,” said Dr. Kent Glen, Vice Chair of the Texas Veterinary Medicine Association Animal Welfare Committee.

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