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SPCA of Texas to re-open Ellis County Animal Care Center in wake of distemper outbreak

DALLAS – Tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 5, the SPCA of Texas will resume intake of stray animals from partner Animal Control Officers in fulfillment of the organization’s contracts with local municipalities at its Ellis County Animal Care Center (Ellis County ACC).

On Tuesday, Aug. 9, the Ellis County ACC will open to the public for adoptions and will resume normal business hours, which are Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. At that point, the center will welcome back volunteers, adopters and community members. The Ellis County ACC has been closed due to the canine distemper virus (CDV) outbreak that began in early June.

At this time, the SPCA of Texas is only taking in animals previously adopted from the organization as space allows, and is not able to take in owner surrenders or stray animals surrendered by individuals. The SPCA of Texas reminds the citizens of Ellis County to look for lost pets at the Ellis County ACC and online.

The SPCA of Texas will feature adoptable animals at the PetSmart at 1451 N. Hwy. 77 in Waxahachie on Friday, Aug. 5 from 4 to 7 p.m. and at the Lowe’s in Waxahachie at 1420 N. Hwy. 77 on Saturday, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In partnership with the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, the SPCA of Texas is hosting a free pet vaccination clinic on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Ellis County Expo Center at 2300 US 287 in Waxahachie. Rabies, DAPPv and FVRCP vaccinations plus microchips, all donated by Merck and Petco Love, will be provided to help curb the spread of preventable diseases and illnesses in pets living in Ellis County and help pets find their way home.

After the first cases of CDV at the SPCA of Texas were identified, in consultation with veterinary viral disease expert Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD, the SPCA of Texas’ medical team, led by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amber Alu, developed a proactive, broad-based response plan to maximize lifesaving, minimize further spread of the virus and protect the community.

The Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center re-opened to the public on July 13 after all dogs at that facility tested negative for CDV. However, because dogs at the Ellis County ACC and the Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center (Dealey Rescue Center) continued to test positive at that time, those with CDV were isolated for treatment at the Myron K. Martin Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Care Clinic (Martin Clinic) and dogs at the two facilities were tested again late last week. This round of testing confirmed all dogs at the Ellis County ACC were negative for CDV.

Because up to half of all dogs infected with distemper are asymptomatic, these rounds of testing continue to be critical to determine if any of the dogs in care are shedding the distemper virus without any observable symptoms. Due to the fact that not all dogs at the Dealey Rescue Center tested negative for CDV, those dogs will be tested again in two weeks.

As a part of this plan, the following SPCA of Texas facilities will remain closed to adopters, volunteers and community members for at least another two weeks:

• Martin Clinic

• Dealey Rescue Center


While the Martin Clinic is closed to the public to provide isolation for dogs in treatment for CDV, all public spay, neuter and wellness care will take place at the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Care Clinic at Village Fair.

Many of the SPCA of Texas’ programs and services will remain open and available during this period. These include:

• Offsite adoptions of cats and kittens at local PetSmart stores will continue, as will adoptions of equine and livestock at the SPCA of Texas’ Equine Center in McKinney.

• The Foster team will continue to place and work with Fosters.

• Select foster dogs will be available for adoption by appointment.

• The SPCA of Texas’ Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Care Clinic will remain open to the public.

• Food and supply pick-ups for the Russell H. Perry Pet Resource Center will continue, and clients will be met at their cars.

• Urgent Animal Cruelty Investigations intake will also continue.


Recently, many shelters in North Texas have been facing similar outbreaks. The organization encourages owners whose pets are in need of vaccinations to make an appointment at the SPCA of Texas Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Care Clinic at Village Fair.

For more information on CDV, as well as future updates as more information becomes available, visit

Ellis County Press

208 S Central St. 
Ferris, TX 75125