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Community Comes Together To Assist Homeless Pet Owners

Today, representatives from local animal welfare organizations, the City of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement, and other nonprofits involved in providing ongoing support to the homeless encampment met to discuss a plan for helping the pet owners and dogs affected by parvovirus. Together we have identified the primary needs and objectives for mitigating the outbreak and collaborated on a plan for moving forward most effectively.

At this time, based on the information gathered from those actively onsite at the encampment, a total of three dogs have passed away. There is also no evidence to support that any dogs have been disposed of in the Kalamazoo River. Currently, no dogs are showing clinical signs of parvovirus. However, we know that can, and will, likely change as the virus can live for years on contaminated surfaces.

The community as a whole must recognize that this outbreak is not a cause for panic. We understand that it is incredibly upsetting to know that people in our community with no place to go are in the midst of a devastating crisis involving their canine companions. Parvovirus is thankfully preventable through vaccinations. Essential core vaccines, such as the DA2PP (often referred to as "puppy shots" or "boosters"), are recommended for all dogs. These vaccines, when given at the veterinarian-recommended time intervals, prevent parvovirus and other common canine diseases.

It is recommended that dogs under six months of age, or not fully vaccinated, should not be taken in public spaces where other dogs may have been. This advice is valid at all times, not just in times of a known outbreak.

To address the current needs of the homeless pet owners in the encampment, we have outlined the following plan:

Any animal that is sick or has passed can call Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement at 269-383-8775 for pick-up for humane euthanasia and proper disposal of the remains.

✅ The SPCA plans to be onsite at the encampment on Friday to give first vaccinations for any dog living at the encampment with the owner's consent.

✅ The Kalamazoo Humane Society has agreed to pay for parvo testing, humane euthanasia, and disposal of remains as needed. KHS is also planning a series of vaccine clinics at the encampment to ensure that all dogs are fully vaccinated with owner consent and remain up to date on an ongoing basis.

✅ Animal's Best Friend Fund is working onsite as volunteers to continue monitoring and assessing the pet owners' needs.

✅ The City of Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo County are offering support and assistance as requested and available.

What we ask of the community:

Donations of:

🎁 Bottled drinking water

🎁 Individually wrapped/shelf-stable snacks

🎁 Bleach

🎁 Gallons of water for diluting bleach

🎁 Spray bottles for bleach solution

🎁 Exam gloves (non-powdered)

🎁 Tyvek suits

🎁 Shoe covers

🎁 Dry and wet dog food

🎁 Leashes, collars or other basic pet supplies

🎁 Monetary gifts

Donations can be brought to:

📍SPCA of SW Michigan

6955 W KL Ave

Kalamazoo, MI 49009

📍Kalamazoo Humane Society

Animal Care & Resource Center

2272 River Street

Kalamazoo, MI 49048

📍Pet Supplies Plus - Portage

5230 S Westnedge Ave

Portage, MI 49002

🚨Please do not bring donations directly to the encampment.🚨

All dog owners are strongly encouraged to bring any dogs with expired or missing vaccines up to date immediately.

Do not continue to share information about this situation from unreliable sources. Social media has many benefits, but the amount of misinformation circulating perpetuates panic and hysteria. We can do more good for our community by maintaining level-headedness, ensuring that owned pets are adequately vaccinated, and sharing resources to help the underserved.

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