UPDATE: GBHS delays dog adoptions after plans to resume normal activities since outbreak

dog adopt GBHS
Ready to give you all the licks.(GBHS)

UPDATE:The Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS) has made the tough decision to delay the reopening of dog adoptions after a dog exhibited signs of possible canine distemper virus (CDV). “We were excited to resume dog adoptions as of May 24, 2022; however, today, we have had a dog begin to exhibit symptoms of CDV. To ensure no further spread of the virus, we have made the difficult decision to delay adoptions for another week while we await the results of another CDV test,” said Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Lindy Alverson.

“The mission of the GBHS is to ensure the humane treatment of humans and animals, and this includes making sure that they are kept healthy and safe from disease,” said Chief Executive Officer Allison Black Cornelius. “When we learned that there may have been another exposure to CDV, we made the tough decision that will ultimately save the most lives and protect the animals in our care as well as the animals in our community.”

Story Before the Delay

The Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS) is resuming dog adoptions on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

As reported by Bham Now last month, GBHS temporarily halted adoptions following an outbreak of Canine distemper virus (CDV). 

“All dogs available for adoption have tested negative for CDV and all have completed the quarantine period,” said Lindy Alverson, Chief Veterinary Officer for GBHS. “These dogs have also been tested for CDV antibodies and will be adopted with a free 30-day pet insurance policy that can be activated the day of adoption.” Dr. Alverson added. 

Check out the Website

Starting on Monday, May 23, dogs that are available for adoption will be posted on the GBHS website.

Dr. Alverson worked closely with shelter medicine and infectious disease experts Dr. Cynda Crawford of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida, and Dr. Brendan Bergquist, Assistant Clinical Professor of Shelter Medicine at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to determine the infection status of every dog at GBHS through diagnostic testing. 

Partnerships Work

Image may include: puppy, masterplan, park, GBHS

“Several shelters and impoundment facilities across the southeast had to close after finding CDV in their canine population,” said Allison Black Cornelius, Chief Executive Officer of GBHS. “We are excited to reopen adoptions. Thanks to The BISSELL Pet Foundation, Greater Good, Chewy.Com, and all of our partners and donors, we were able to work quickly to collaborate with shelter medicine experts and establish an aggressive, life-saving response strategy after the first case was identified.”

According to Alverson, the process of eliminating a virus like CDV is time consuming and expensive, costing GBHS almost $40,000 for testing, but the collaboration saved many lives.

Dogs Need a Home

The dogs that have been quarantined for several weeks need a home. 

“These dogs have been quarantined for several weeks and need to find permanent homes outside of the shelter. We hope the beds, testing results, and insurance encourage adopters to turn out for these pups,” said Dr. Alverson. 

The outbreak is the reason why GBHS spends the money to vaccinate all animals upon entering the shelter, and encourages owners to to stay up to date on their pets’ vaccines.

Vaccinations Matter

“Vaccination in the community is the key to prevention,” Dr. Alverson said. “It is extremely important to keep animals current, not only on distemper, but rabies vaccinations as well. This is a 100% preventable virus if the community vaccinates and safely contains their pets.”

Got questions or concerns about CDV and the vaccines? Call 205-942-1211. Meanwhile, there are dogs who need a home. Spread the word!

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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