By Team

MIAMI – (CBS4) – The rabies and microchip clinic of Miami-Dade’s Animal Shelter is once again open after an outbreak of canine distemper that forced officials to disinfect the shelter and keep a number of animals out.

Officials announced that the clinic would reopen to the public Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pet adoptions remain open as well. The shelter has numerous cats and dogs available.

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When word got out that the dogs had to be adopted or placed with temporary caregivers or else face euthanasia, South Florida showed up in force.

“We saved over 500 animals between Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The community came out in full force, our rescue partners were amazing. People were camped in the lobby, people waited six to seven hours to adopt,” said Sara Pizano, Director of Animal Services.

To make adoptions easier, Animal Services waived their normal fees for dogs. Those fees have since been reinstated.

Monday morning workers began cleaning and disinfecting the shelter which is located at 7401 NW 74th Street. The dogs which had not been adopted or moved were relocated to an air conditioned 40 by 40 tent in the parking lot. Currently, only 3 dogs remain in the tent.

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While the cleaning is underway, there will be no intake of dogs and puppies. Cat intakes and adoptions continue as do spay and neuter programs for cats. The shelter will continue to pick up dead or injured animals.

Other services that will continue as normal include investigations, buying licenses, paying citations, lost and found, and the mobile animal clinic spay and neuter program.

Animal Services is also asking for donations of dog toys which can easily be disinfected; they’re usually made out of thick plastic, no hollow balls or toys in which water can get inside. They’re also in need of a company to donate fencing and a concrete slab to improve the cleaning process during adoptions.

There is no cure for distemper, which is a highly contagious canine virus. Most dogs with distemper suffer from gastrointestinal and respiratory problems like diarrhea, fever, cough, runny nose and vomiting, as well as neurological complications. Distemper can be prevented with vaccinations.

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The shelter is also accepting volunteers and offering training and orientation every Thursday at 5 p.m. and the first and third Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. For more information, click here. Team