Animal rescues extra busy with IACC not taking in dogs

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The plan to rid Indianapolis Animal Care and Control of a deadly virus is putting more pressure on rescue agencies.

Four dogs at the IACC contracted canine distemper last month and had to be put down. Officials said all dogs still at the facility haven’t shown symptoms.

To keep others from catching it, the facility temporarily stopped taking in dogs. That’s made finding pets people want to surrender a challenge.

“I don’t know if you’d notice but the walls are much cleaner than they ever were before,” said Dawn Contos, Community Outreach at IACC, as she walked through one of the kennel rooms.

Just about everything in the room from the kennels themselves to the markers used to write on a dry erase board have been thoroughly disinfected. Even the toys and rocks the dogs walk on outside were cleaned.

“Four days of a crew cleaning, plus us doing our normal cleaning,” said Contos.

IACC waived adoption fees to clear the kennels in order to clear the kennels before cleaning them. But when they stopped taking dogs in, agencies like Casa del Toro Pit Bull Rescue had to shoulder the load.

“We received a lot of phone calls, not only for surrender requests, but animals at large,” said Shawna Ping, the organization’s president. “I actually saw a pack of three dogs running in Fountain Square two days ago and it’s rare that I see a pack of strays going together.”

Casa del Toro is maxed out with 12 dogs in foster care. Because of that, they’re actually turning dogs away.

“Like many other organizations, we’re offering supplies and assistance to try to keep the animals safe until we can get them back into the system,” she said.

There are still a few dogs at IACC like one named Rugby, the last of the isolated dogs still waiting to be adopted.

“As you can see, he’s healthy. He’s fine. No problems no symptoms,” said Contos as Rugby jumped to lick her face.

But if nobody takes him home, he’ll soon have several roommates at the facility to keep in company.

Every kennel will be deep cleaned and then at that point, we’ll be ready to go back to business as usual,” Contos said.

IACC will start taking dogs in next Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Until then, they will continue to waive all adoption fees in order to clear the shelter of as many dogs as possible.

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