NEW PORT RICHEY — An outbreak of parvovirus has left one dog dead and another sick in Land O'Lakes kennels operated by the city's volunteer animal protection unit, according to New Port Richey interim police Chief Kim Bogart.
A dog started showing symptoms of the deadly, highly contagious disease Friday, and a veterinarian found the virus in its system. The dog later died. Another has since also been diagnosed with parvovirus and is in quarantine at the kennels, according to Bogart.
The kennels — which the city rents from a Land O'Lakes veterinarian — have been closed to the public, and the city has ceased collecting dogs indefinitely, Bogart said. The kennels are at 10125 Land O'Lakes Blvd.
"I will be reaching out to Pasco County and other local rescues and shelters to seek assistance," Bogart said Sunday.
The unit's volunteers have been notified of the outbreak, and the program will operate on a skeleton crew in order to care for 50-some dogs still in the kennels, Bogart said.
Since Friday, the unit had adopted out one dog, whose adopters have been notified, Bogart said. Controlling the outbreak will be under the purview of the city's volunteer unit director Sharon McReynolds, he said.
"We are engaging in all of the protocols in order to deal with this problem," Bogart said.
It's the second parvovirus outbreak the city's volunteer unit has endured since its inception in October. The New Port Richey City Council enacted the unit after canceling a contract with Pasco County in a cost-saving measure. The unit is run under the city's Police Department.
When the program started, the city entered into an agreement with SPCA Suncoast to use kennels at its Congress Street complex.
But that only lasted until March, when the SPCA called on the city to vacate the kennels after officials with the nonprofit accused McReynolds of failing to report a parvovirus outbreak in the kennels on loan.
Former SPCA executive director Jennie Briguglio thought that outbreak spread to the SPCA, killing 10 dogs.