February 22, 2013

Quarantine extended at Scarborough pet shop after 2nd puppy falls ill

Two dogs from Little Paws Pet Shop have now tested positive for parvovirus, and a Saturday protest is planned.

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The state extended its quarantine of dogs at a pet store in Scarborough for at least another week after a puppy at the store became the second dog to test positive for parvovirus, state officials said Friday.

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In the front, Shelby, a Siberian husky from a Scarborough pet shop that died of parvovirus. Little Paws Pet Shop has been quarantined following Shelby's death.

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The state has put the Little Paws Pet Shop in Scarborough under quarantine because a puppy sold there died after testing positive for parvovirus and giardia. Photographed on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.

Derek Davis / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

The Little Paws pet shop's 23 puppies were initially quarantined after the death on Feb. 2 of a Siberian husky that had parvovirus.

The puppy was purchased from store on Payne Road a little more than a week before it died. The husky also was diagnosed with giardia, an intestinal parasite.

In retesting by the store's veterinarian, another puppy was found to have parvovirus, a highly contagious disease that is potentially lethal to dogs. The finding prompted officials to extend the quarantine through the first week of March, said state veterinarian Christine Fraser in a written statement Friday.

The source of the original parvovirus infection is still being investigated, said Jay Finegan, spokesman for the state animal welfare office, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The state is awaiting test results on another dog, a dachshund, that died after being purchased from the Little Paws pet shop, Finegan said.

It isn't clear that the dachshund had either parvovirus or giardia. The body has been sent to New Hampshire for a necropsy to determine the cause of death, he said.

Finegan said he did not know when the dog died or when it was purchased. State officials learned about the dachshund after the husky's death made news, he said.

The written statement from Fraser indicates that state officials have not made a direct connection between the parvovirus cases and the dachshund's death.

"The Animal Welfare Program has received no new reports of puppies that were purchased that have been diagnosed with parvovirus and/or giardia, nor do we expect to at this point," Fraser said in the statement.

State officials have not said where they believe the Siberian husky puppy that died was exposed to parvovirus.

Barbara Cross, who owns the Little Paws pet shop, said the puppy may have contracted the virus after it was purchased. On Friday evening, she said she was not aware of the diagnosis of the second puppy.

She said the store will reopen Sunday but no dogs will be allowed to enter or leave the store.

It will close on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so workers can remove carpeting and reseal the floor, then will reopen on Thursday, she said.

Cross said most of the puppies in the store have been sold, and will join their owners once the quarantine has been lifted. She said the puppies will be retested next week.

Lynne Fracassi of Gorham, who founded Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills, said she expects that more than 80 people will protest at the store on Payne Road between noon and 3 p.m. Saturday.

She said the puppies were well cared for at the store but her group is concerned about the conditions at the kennels where the puppies were born.

She said the breeding dogs live their entire lives in wire cages without bedding.


Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:


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Additional Photos

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The state has put Little Paws Pet Shop in Scarborough under quarantine because a puppy sold there died after testing positive for parvovirus and giardia. Above, a sign on the store's front window on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.


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