CHICKAMAUGA, GA. (WRCB) - The Walker County Animal Shelter is quarantined after the death of some dogs there.
Walker County Animal Shelter officials say they're taking every precaution they can to keep their remaining animals alive and healthy.
The shelter is closed while workers try to oust the deadly virus. They think it could be canine parvovirus.
"They were covered in flies and had bloody stool," Walker County Animal Shelter Director Alison Smith says.
That is all it took for Walker County Animal Shelter Director Alison Smith to know she had a serious problem.
"When we came in Thursday morning and found the two animals dead, that was it. I said that's it, lock the gates. We're going to have to," Smith says.
She says all signs point to the common, but many times deadly, parvovirus, which spreads very easily. So for the next week, workers are dis-infecting the entire facility.
"We're cleaning in ways that aren't routine just to be sure, sure, sure that we are eradicating the virus," Smith says.
Just 24 hours before the deaths, she says the shelter had a busy day of volunteers coming in and out, grooming and taking adoption pictures to post online. She says they've all been contacted and told what to do.
"We don't know what kind of cross contamination may have happened," Smith says.
But, there's one thing she says she's confident about.
"The animals did not the get virus here at the shelter," Smith says.
She points to research that shows the incubation period for parvo is four to six days and the dogs that died had only been there two days.
"That's why shelters get a bad wrap for being a place full of disease. These animals brought the disease into the shelter," Smith says.
She says the dogs were from two litters and the remaining puppies were likely infected too, so they were put down.
The shelter is scheduled to re-open next Monday, July 9. In the meantime, the 48 remaining dogs are being kept inside so flies don't have the chance to get a hold of the virus and carry it elsewhere.
Shelter officials say this is a perfect example of why vaccinating your pet is so important.