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Officials fear outbreak of canine distemper in Baltimore County

Baltimore County Animal Services
Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 18:20:19-04

BALDWIN, Md. — Of the first 48 dogs seized from the ‘Don’t Be a Bully’ rescue brought to the Baltimore County Animal Shelter, 15 died, and when animal control picked up 44 more from the same facility last week, a dozen of them suffered the same fate.

“Almost immediately,” said Chief of Animal Services Dr. Sandra Andrulis. “They were sick when we picked them up. That’s part of the issue. They were trying to… They were so, so sick, there was really no getting them back to health.”

The rescue posted on line following the initial seizure that it takes in 200 dogs per month from Texas in an attempt to save their lives.

But it appears it may have imported an outbreak of distemper with them, putting puppies throughout the area at risk.

RELATED: 27 of 92 sick dogs die after being seized from "Don't Be a Bully" in Baltimore County

“If you had your dog and they’re unvaccinated or you adopted a dog, the inclination is to bring them to puppy training classes and that would mean you’re exposing that dog to many other dogs that are unvaccinated,” said Andrulis “So it could be something that we’re really going to see in the community, and already I’m hearing from different ERs and vets in Baltimore County that they have dogs coming in that have signs of distemper.”

Distemper is described as an incurable, highly contagious and often fatal disease, and dogs, which contract it often suffer from seizures the rest of their lives.

“It’s sort of like polio. We thought we weren’t ever going to see it again, but then all these dogs from other regions of the country that aren’t vaccinated---that’s where we’re getting it,” said Andrulis. “In my career, I’ve seen maybe one other case of distemper before this happened. I’ve been practicing for 19 years now.”

An investigation continues into whether the non-profit rescue may have broken any laws and why it would bring dozens of additional puppies into its facility with many of them near death from disease.