July 30, 2013

Owner defends, plans to sell Scarborough quarantined pet store

She says she feels pressure from those who oppose commercial-scale breeding.

By Gillian Graham ggraham@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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The owner of Little Paws pet store in Scarborough says protesters have influenced her decision to sell the store.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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Sophie, a 9-week-old Ori-pei, is being treated for parvovirus, a highly contagious disease that is often fatal for dogs. Little Paws, the Scarborough store that sold her to Tina Bark of Westbrook, has been placed under quarantine while state officials investigate.

Courtesy of Tina Bark

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Neither Purifoy nor Lonewolf Kennels appears on the Humane Society of the United States' "Horrible Hundred" list of puppy mills with deficiencies or inadequate attention to animal welfare.

Cross, reached by phone Tuesday while she was buying supplies to clean the store, said protesters target her store even though shelters also occasionally have puppies with parvovirus. She said her decision to sell the store -- possibly to someone who wants to turn it into a pet adoption center -- has been influenced by the pressure from protesters.

Cross said two of the 600 dogs she has sold at Little Paws have tested positive for the virus and she has no way of knowing whether they contracted it at the store.

"It's going to happen. It's unfortunate," she said. "I feel like I'm putting in a diligent effort to do the right thing. Will some dogs still get sick? Yes."

Fraser, the veterinarian, said parvovirus is a "young puppy disease," which is why it is most commonly seen in pet stores and at shelters. Dogs are usually fully vaccinated by the time they are 12 weeks old, she said. They can be sold at eight weeks, before they have all of their shots.

"That's where the weakness is," Fraser said.

The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland has not had any cases of parvovirus in recent memory, although it takes precautions to prevent the spread of any contagious disease, said Lynne McGhee, community relations manager.

Any dogs that come to the shelter through a rescue transport are quarantined for five days so their health can be monitored, as required by the state, she said.

Bobbi Allen, manager of the Animal Welfare Society in West Kennebunk, said she has seen 10 cases of parvovirus in the 15 years she has been at the shelter. She said people can protect pets against the disease by ensuring they are properly vaccinated and get regular medical attention.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:


Twitter: grahamgillian

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