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Shelter to reopen today
Sick dog forces lockdown of facility
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The Dawson County Humane Society is scheduled to reopen today after the discovery of a sick dog forced the facility to go into lockdown for a couple days.


The state Department of Agriculture has given officials the clearance to reopen, shelter director Kay Harris said Tuesday.


She said state tests confirmed the dog had conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the membrane covering the inside of the eyelids and the mucous membranes of the eye. The dog was euthanized.


Harris said the center is limited on what tests can be conducted at the center on the animals.


“The quarantine gave us a chance to do extra cleaning to make sure everybody was safe,” she said.


No animals could be dropped off or adopted and volunteers were not allowed to enter the shelter during the quarantine, which the society announced Friday.


Brandon Mills, a local veterinarian and the shelter’s medical director, there was no threat to humans or cats.


Mills said Monday the ill animal, which had been surrendered by its owner, stayed at the shelter for seven to 10 days before it was adopted.


The same person turned in two other dogs, neither of which is sick. They were placed in isolation away from the shelter’s general population, Mills said.


“No other dogs are sick,” he added.


The sick dog was taken by its new owner to a local vet, who made the preliminary diagnosis and notified both state and shelter officials, Mills said.


It is the first quarantine at the humane society shelter, which opened about two years ago, Harris said.


She called the quarantine “a precautionary move only and not a cause for alarm.”


According to a news release from the society, “Dr. Mills believes the strict adherence to state-mandated cleaning and disinfection protocols has paid off in limiting the threat of contagious disease in our shelter.”


Founded in 2005, the society opened the animal shelter, the county’s only such facility, in April 2008. It provides a temporary home for about 200 dogs and cats.


The shelter also serves the county by taking in the dogs and cats picked up by the county’s animal control division.


Sheriff Billy Carlisle said Monday that animal control officers would take any animals picked up early in the week to shelters outside the county until the situation was resolved.


“Hall County is one of those options right now,” he said.