Franklin Co. Dog Shelter held adoption events after discovering distemper


There have been more confirmed cases of distemper at the Franklin County Dog Shelter as test results show two additional dogs tested positive.

10TV has learned the Franklin County Dog Shelter took part in three adoption events after the shelter knew it had a case of distemper.

“There were hundreds of people who came,” animal activist Luke Westerman said.

Timeline: Franklin County Dog Shelter distemper outbreak

Westerman emceed what's called Yappy Hour on Sunday, September 4, which was an animal adoption event at The Gateway. This, despite the shelter finding out September 3 that they'd had a case of distemper.

FCDS brought some dogs and held two other events that same weekend. There was a sale on Saturday and Mingle with The Mutts Sunday.

“They welcome folks from the community to come in, meet their dogs, bring their family dogs if they want to introduce their family dogs to shelter dogs,” Westerman said. “They refused to say a thing to the public until five full days later."

That's when the shelter finally shut down adoptions. We've learned 99 dogs left the shelter from September 4 through September 8, and 67 dogs were adopted out with 32 going to rescue groups. The shelter still has no clear answer as to why adoptions continued.

“In retrospect, we should have been on top of that and we were not, we’re now going through the process of figuring out exactly how that happened,” Don Winstel said, Director of Franklin County Dog Shelter.

There were two more dogs that were tested positive for distemper and they were put down. In all, 64 dogs have been euthanized now due to this outbreak. The shelter can no longer handle recent adoptees bringing their dogs back in to be checked, and telling everyone to go their local vet. Many have loudly protested the way this was handled but the shelter stands by its actions.

“I can’t come up with a specific thing that we should have done differently,” Winstel said.

The shelter is finally notifying recent adoptees about the outbreak. They said a letter is going out to everyone who adopted a dog dating back to August 8.

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