Kenton Co. Reviewing Parvo Outbreak that Resulted in Death of 21 Shelter Dogs
It was revealed Tuesday evening just how many dogs lost their lives after a breakout of the parvo virus at the Kenton County Animal Shelter.
The River City News reported earlier this month that shelter director Elizabeth Cochran did not want to say how many dogs died when she was asked by County Commissioner Jon Draud.
On Tuesday, during another meeting of the Kenton County Fiscal Court, County Administrator Joe Shriver read from a thorough report that recounted the details of the deadly outbreak. In all, 21 dogs had to be euthanized.
On July 20, Shriver said, three dogs were brought to the shelter and tested positive for the virus on July 22. The dogs were out down. On July 28 and 29, more dogs at the shelter tested positive for the virus and the decision was made to close the shelter to clean it thoroughly.
The shelter did not reopen until August 10.
"Director Cochran is gathering experts to do a post-incident review," Shriver said. He thanked Independence veterinarian Dr. Greg Bach for his assistance in the clean-up and evaluation. Bach attended Tuesday's meeting and spoke highly of Cochran's work in the wake of the outbreak.
"I had very few suggestions on how to prevent something like this," Bach said. "I'm in the opinion, though I am not a shelter expert or a parvo expert, when you have a public shelter, it's not if you're going to have a parvo outbreak, it's when. It's just that common because it's so difficult to prevent." Bach said Cochran did "an excellent job" controlling the outbreak.
Since the devastating episode, there have been no new cases, Bach said. He said that four years ago a nearby shelter suffered a much worse outbreak of the virus. "It was excellent the way Ms. Cochran dealt with it," Bach said.
Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann called the outbreak "a tough situation" and said, "We're glad we're on the other side of this situation."
The evening was not full of praise, however. Former part-time shelter employee Matt Elrod was critical of the way the shelter handled the aftermath.
"Last week I felt like it was a lack of transparency. There was no explanation on the door. They were closed and it was ironic because they had just put out a call for wet food and people were showing up to donate," Elrod said. He was particularly upset that Cochran said on August 12 that the number of animals put down was "irrelevant". "It's not irrelevant. These animals matter. There are people whose animals simply got lost and ended up there and died, so it matters. We felt like you guys ran on transparency. This wasn't transparent. This was hidden. People acted like it was not a big deal and as someone who put a lot of time up there away from my family, it kind of ticks me off."
The Fiscal Court voted 4-0 to maintain the county's property tax rate despite indications in June that it would accept a 4 percent increase. The decision not to raise taxes created a discussion between members of the court over their principles and philosophy related to taxes.
Draud antagonized his fellow commissioners by thanking the Tea Party for their onslaught of postcards, emails, and phone calls against a tax rate increase, crediting the conservative group for changing the minds of Commissioners Joe Nienaber and Beth Sewell. Draud referenced former State Representative John Isler. "His favorite expression is, he was for all expenditures and against all revenues or tax increases," Draud said. "Which kind of reminds me of this budget because we started out approving a budget with a 4 percent increase and now we find people are not willing to vote on the tax to support that budget."
Draud maintained that because of the large surplus possessed by the county, that there was no need for the proposed increase. The fiscal court held a meeting on Monday to set goals and priorities for the surplus, which has been deemed as too high, with agreements that the county dispatch center and related equipment should be improved.
"I think we should give credit where credit is due," Draud continued. "I'm not a member of the Tea Party but I congratulate the Tea Party for sending their letters and emails. That's one thing the Tea Party deserves a lot of credit for. I don't always agree with them on a lot of issues, but typically, the American citizens are largely apathetic bu tthe Tea Party members were ready to get involved