Texas SPCA reopens Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center; other facilities remain closed as distemper outbreak continues

The Texas SPCA is reopening its animal shelter in Dallas for adoptions today (Thursday, July 14) after being closed for several weeks due to the canine distemper virus outbreak that began in early June.

Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center will resume regular adoption hours, which means it will be open from noon to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Officials said this reopening is for adoptions at this location only and the Texas SPCA is not able to accommodate pets at this time, including those previously adopted, handed over by owners, and non-emergency strays from unincorporated Dallas. County or Ellis County.

After the first cases of canine distemper were identified at the facility, the Texas SPCA medical team, led by Dr. Amber Alu and in consultation with veterinary viral disease expert Dr. Cynda Crawford, “has developed a proactive, large-scale response plan to maximize rescue, minimize the spread of the virus and protect the community.”

Two weeks after testing all dogs with symptoms and isolating those that tested positive for CDV, the Texas SPCA conducted testing for all dogs at each of the three facilities affected by the outbreak. “Because up to half of all dogs infected with distemper are asymptomatic, this series of tests was essential to determine if any of the dogs in care are shedding the distemper virus without any observable symptoms. “, according to a press release.

No other dogs have tested positive at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center, so the animal shelter can reopen to the public and all animals at the facility are available for adoption, fostering or transfer.

But since dogs at the Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center and Ellis County Animal Care Center tested positive, those with CDV were isolated for treatment, and dogs at both facilities will be tested again in two weeks. Any new positive CDV test result at either site restarts the two-week countdown for that facility, and then another round of testing would take place at each affected site. This process will continue until no distemper is detected at each location individually.

The following Texas SPCA facilities will remain closed to adopters, volunteers and community members for at least two weeks:

  • Myron K. Martin Sterilization and Veterinary Care Clinic
  • Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center
  • Ellis County Animal Care Center

While the Martin Clinic is closed to the public to isolate dogs undergoing treatment for VCT, all public spaying, neutering and wellness care will take place at the Mary Spencer Spaying and Veterinary Care Clinic in Village Fair.

Texas SPCA programs and services that remain open and available during this time include:

  • Offsite cat and kitten adoptions at local PetSmart stores and equine and livestock adoptions at the McKinney Equine Center.
  • The host team will continue to place and work with host families.
  • Some foster dogs will be available for adoption by appointment.
  • The Texas SPCA Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Care Clinic will remain open to the public.
  • Food and supply drives for the Russell H. Perry Pet Resource Center will continue and customers will be met at their cars.
  • The Ellis County Animal Care Center will quarantine animals if bitten.
  • Receiving urgent animal cruelty inquiries will also continue.

The Texas SPCA recommends dog owners consult with their veterinarian to make sure their pets are up to date with vaccinations. The organization encourages owners whose pets need vaccinations to schedule an appointment with the Texas SPCA Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Care Clinic at Village Fair.

For more information on CDV, as well as future updates as more information becomes available, visit SPCA.org/Distemper.

Benjamin M. Yerger