Parvo infection affects Laurel Rescue League

By: Karrie Leggett

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)-  The Animal Rescue League houses hundreds of cats and dogs, and now President of the Board for the Animal Rescue League, Cindy Pittman, says they are faced with a problem that has their puppies at risk.

"This is not a new problem. This is a very old problem and this is a people problem," said Pittman.

That people problem started in July when someone dumped eight of these six puppies and there mother here at the rescue league in the middle of the night, and with them came a disease that is deadly to puppies.

"The mother had never been vaccinated nor had the babies, and the babies have to have three vaccinations: six weeks, nine weeks and twelve weeks before they are immune to this dreaded disease Parvo. Parvo is spread from puppy to puppy. It is very difficult to get rid of and if you do not have vaccinated animals they will die," said Pittman.

The puppies that were infected with Parvo were exposed to other puppies and as a result 16 have died. Now, the last six are being watch and treated.

Another burden the rescue league faces is financial. Yearly, the facility is double its capacity.

"We are nonprofit. We operate on donations only. We get down to just about zero and we have salaries to pay, bills to pay like everyone has to pay," said Pittman.

With little financial resources the facility is giving the sick puppies all the medical care they can, but sometimes that isn't enough.

"You fall in love with the puppy, you know, and then to come in the morning and find them dead from a disease that could have been prevented by the owner," said Pittman.

Pittman says she has one message for people who unlawfully dump animals at shelters and at the rescue league.

"Please be a responsible pet owner and if you can not pay for vaccination for your animal or get them spayed or neutered you don't really need a pet."

The Animal Rescue League says they will know in two weeks whether or not the remaining puppies will survive the disease.

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