POMPANO BEACH, FLA. - Animal lovers from all over South Florida are showing up to help rescue dozens of orphaned animals from Miami Animal Service shelter, as an outbreak of a deadly disease threatens the lives of the pets.
The county-run animal shelter in Medley is trying to move all of the animals out so they can clean and sanitize the establishment.
Officials said they are trying to fight an outbreak of distemper, which is a highly contagious and sometimes fatal virus. The disease affects the dogs' respiratory, gastro-intestinal and central nervous system.
"The longer they're in a shelter, they higher their risk of getting an infectious disease," said Shelter Director Dr. Sara Pizano.
The decontamination cannot begin until the 280 pets that were still there Friday morning find new homes. Friday morning, in addition to the distemper, vets identified another disease affecting dogs at the shelter: strep zoo. To be safe, dogs and puppies received a 24-hour antibiotic shot.
Animal groups came from as far as Pompano Beach to rescue the animals.
"This is our first load of 9, we still have another load to do this afternoon, and probably about 7 more tomorrow," said Lauree Simmons, with Big Dog Ranch Rescue.
Big Dog Ranch Rescue, alone, pulled 25 helpless dogs and puppies, hoping to give them a fighting chance.
"She's got kennel cough right now, and we will medically treat them and try to get them all well," said Simmons holding one of the rescued dogs.
Anyone interested in helping out Big Dog Ranch Rescue can call Lauree Simmons at:
(561) 747 - 9099 - office
(561) 719 - 1754 - cell
or visit their website: www.bigdogranchrescue.org