Operations at Hillsborough County’s animal shelter are beginning to return to normal following a two-week hold on dog adoptions. Dozens of healthy, freshly-groomed dogs are ready for new homes beginning Saturday, Nov. 16. Even better news for soon-to-be pet owners: all dogs, puppies, cats and kittens available for adoption from the shelter can be taken home for the reduced cost of $20 each. The fee covers an initial checkup, microchipping, vaccinations, rabies tag, and spaying/neutering.
To apply to adopt a new pet, visit Hillsborough County Animal Services, 440 N. Falkenburg Road in Tampa, seven days a week from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Animals may also be viewed at www.HillsboroughCounty.org/AnimalServices, though applications must be filled out in person at the shelter. For more information, call the shelter at 813-744-5660.
Animal Services and Dr. Cynda Crawford, a shelter medicine expert from the University of Florida (UF), announced Friday afternoon that a new, flu-like canine virus confirmed two weeks ago in some dogs at the shelter is well under control. Even more dogs will be available for adoption over the next week to 10 days as the quarantine in the kennels is lifted in phases.
Until the shelter has fully resumed normal operations, Animal Services asks that owners needing to surrender their dogs hold these animals for another two weeks, or reach out to friends, family members and neighbors for assistance.
The pneumovirus is so new that many veterinarians and dog owners have never heard of it. Two shelter staff veterinarians diagnosed the virus. The virus, which spreads quickly through exposed dogs, causes coughing and nasal discharge. The virus has been reported in several states, including at other Florida shelters and at emergency relief shelters following Superstorm Sandy. Most dogs recover within one to two weeks; however, in some cases, the virus can increase the chance of pneumonia.
No animals at the shelter died as a result of the virus.
Crawford, who led a team of veterinarians from UF’s Maddie’s Shelter Program to assist the shelter’s staff veterinarians, said Friday that the virus did not originate at the shelter, but was brought in by a sick or infected animal. She praised Animal Services for their quick response and proactive steps.
Animal Services put the quarantine in place to prevent the virus from leaving the shelter and suspended intake of new dogs. Led by director Ian Hallett, Animal Services contacted the team from UF, as well the Florida State Animal Response Coalition whose volunteers bolstered shelter staff’s efforts to care for the dogs locked down at the shelter. The SPCA Florida established a temporary emergency shelter in Lakeland for dogs diverted from admission.