Wexford Co. Animal Shelter Loses Third Dog To Parvo, Continue To Help Others

"It’s been a whirlwind and it’s affected us,” says Judy Nichols, a shelter volunteer. “I mean, this is a sad thing."

A fast moving, deadly virus infected a third dog at the Wexford County Animal Shelter.

The shelter and Animal Control officers say the dog had to be put down Monday morning after struggling with canine parvo-virus.

This, after the contagious condition appeared in another dog last week.

The shelter staff says someone had just adopted a second dog and symptoms started shortly after.

That dog also had to be put down.

The shelter has since been closed until further notice.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman visited the shelter and continue our coverage.


Canine parvovirus moves quickly and there is no known cure.

While symptoms are treatable, the shelter says it can ride on your clothes back home and infect more pets.

Still, they continue to try to help other pets and their owners.

“These dogs…we knew these dogs,” Nichols says.

Judy Nichols has volunteered at the Wexford County Animal Shelter for years.

She says this latest biological threat is like helplessly watching her kids get sick.

“This has been difficult for our staff and for our volunteers and it’s affected us, personally,” Nichols says. “We care about these animals and parvo is an unexplained thing that comes in and a dog can be a carrier and, before you know it, things are infected."

Staff members continue to clean the inside.

Volunteers and others like animal control have stepped up to help.

“Our animal control has been in contact with everyone and everybody who has come into contact with the shelter, has contacted those people and spoken with them, if they have animals in their house, to pay attention to those animals,” says Undersheriff Rick Doehring, Wexford County Sheriff’s Office.

“There are lots of really positive people out there who have said we have a place or we have a kennel, get back with us, we’ll help you out,” Nichols says. “Even as far as Gratiot County has contacted us."

“It’s really sad that it’s hit them again,” says Don Ryno, a dog owner in Cadillac.

Don, a past pup rescuer, says vaccinations can help stop its spread in the future.

The shelter agrees.

“That’s been one of the cleanest shelters I’ve ever been in when I’ve gone in and visited,” Ryno says. “We’ve gotten some three different dogs from that shelter. It’s a shame that any owner doesn’t get them taken care of. They can get free vaccinations for that at many different locations."

The shelter staff will continue cleaning the facility for at least the remainder of the 14-day period.

“Our volunteer force is an excellent, outstanding group of people that have been helping animals get home, helping animals get reclaimed and helping lost animals off the streets,” Nichols says.