Multi agency partnership leads to saving 17 puppies

Last week with the help of Henderson Animal Center, Rusk County Pets Alive!, American Pets Alive and the City of Henderson 17 puppies were saved from an outbreak of parvo virus at the animal center. 

The parvo was discovered following a call from the center made to Rusk County Pets Alive!

“That was key, too, because a lot of times in the past we never get notified,” Kelli Ballenger said. “We could never do anything anyway because we didn’t have a facility but this all just lined up.”

Three of the puppies were taken to the vet and one of the three tested positive to let the team know that they did have parvo in the building.

These 17 puppies had to be transferred to another facility for quarantine to prevent any other puppies from receiving the virus. 

Thanks to Henderson City Manager Jay Ambercombie and Henderson Police Chief Chad Taylor, who provided a space to treat the puppies, Rusk County Pets Alive! team was able to come in and move the puppies to get them proper treatment. 

“The city has been huge in this and a huge support,” Ballenger said. 

American Pets Alive! is the educational branch of Austin Pets Alive! and they were able to come in and not only help treat the puppies but teach about nine volunteers how to handle these cases and several other things. 

They were able to give some basic education on how to look at an animal, get more information out of the adopter to know what is really happening and find the best outcome for the dog. 

APA! was able to send a medical team to come and help treating the puppies and decontaminating the center. 

The 17 puppies went through the same treatments that Austin Pets Alive! does with its puppies effected by parvo. The puppies have a series of shots and antibiotics they have to take and at this time still are. 

“It was a huge help for us because otherwise we didn’t have any outlet for them, ” said Charissa Pool, interim director of Henderson Animal Center. “They came in and offered some resources and guidance along with some additional things we can do to help. This time of year is really bad for parvo. So they just went around and sanitized because that’s a huge job.”

Two of the puppies saved by these treatments were able to be transported this week to Austin Pets Alive! to find new homes. 

Another big thing that happened while APA! was here, was a dog was returned to the center due to being aggressive. After a behavioral test with the APA! team it was discovered he wasn’t aggressive and he was fine and joined the two puppies in Austin. 

“When you start shifting your focus to saving the lives your protocols will start changing and that’s a just good example,” Ballenger said. “American Pets Alive! went to the shelter and went through all of their cleaning protocols and disinfected the center with them, did some training with them as well. It has just been a huge for us!” 

Following some restructuring of the center, Ballenger and the RCPA! team are hoping it will truly help the city and the animals. 

Along with saving 17 puppies Ballenger has also been working diligently on Fair Paws Dog Park. The group hosted a meeting at the park Thursday night to give an update on where things are and a time line for completion. 

“All of our equipment is already in and the city is housing it for us,” Ballenger said. “So as soon as the sod gets in we can start putting in the benches, weigh stations and all that. Probably at least another month out. It’s closer than we have ever been.” 

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